Gr 4-7-- Organized like a topnotch aquarium, this book looks at six aquatic habitats from inland lakes and ponds to the open seas. Curtis establishes the importance of water to all life and discusses the effect humans have had on each habitat. Animals--including birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates--are described as they relate to their environment. The blend of natural and created (aquarium) habitats is smooth and effective and allows for both a worldwide perspective in the wild and a national look at captive environments. The author's strong stand on conservation may seem heavy-handed to some, as she denigrates the use of animals for entertainment, but her points are well made, politically correct, and thought-provoking. The many clear full-color photographs are informative and well labeled, although not as spectacular as those in recent books by the New England Aquarium. Several small black-and-white photographs depict examples of animals mistreated or harmed by humans. The wide scope and clarity of presentation make this title a fine choice for both browsing and for background reading. --Susan Oliver, Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library System
The next trip to the aquarium or zoo might be a little more eye-opening after one has read Curtis' insightful descriptions of the homes and habits of aquatic animals in and out of the wild. Birds, fish, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians from fresh and salt water are engagingly described, with special attention paid to the human impact on their habitats. The accompanying color photographs vary from adequate to very good, but a few stock black-and-white photos look dark and dated. Especially welcome are the author's suggestions on what to look for in aquatic exhibits.