"This is an engaging premise for a picture book. Crisp, full-color, full-page photos provide close-ups of various sea life—fish, starfish, eels, slugs, jellyfish—and compare their physical appearances to standard foods that most children will recognize: pancakes, chocolate chip cookies, lettuce, bananas, apples, even egg yolks. Each two-page spread features an oversize caption, an accessible one-paragraph description of the subject and how its distinct makeup helps it survive in the ocean (camouflage, absorbing food or sunlight, armor, attracting mates, propulsion), and a standard list of basic data (aliases, species, size, range, habitat, predators). Included in this last section is also a fun fact: the cauliflower jellyfish, for example, has no hearts, brains, or blood. A couple pages of introductory text introduce the concept of biodiversity; the concluding text encourages appreciation and respect for all kinds of sea critters, and plants the seed that readers might discover some new species of their own someday. A glossary introduces cool new vocabulary (filaments, scutes, tentacles, tubercles); a concluding quiz asks readers to identify photos as 'sea food' or 'me food.' This is sure to be a hit with young audiences, whether shared during storytime or read (and reread) by deep-sea enthusiasts."—starred, Booklist
Gr 1–3—Grodzicki explores sea life that resembles common foods. An introduction explains that some creatures have useful features that cause them to look like "their tasty twins." Each of the following pages contains photographs and explains the traits that gave each animal its name and the purpose of these traits. Readers will also learn about the creature's other nicknames, species name, size, habitat, and predators and one fun fact. The large, colorful photos; the simple layout; and brief information are the book's strengths. Unfortunately, the animals don't resemble their food look-alikes enough to wow young readers and the information is not thorough enough for older readers. VERDICT A beautiful book that lacks a distinct purpose or audience.—Katherine Rao, Palos Verdes Library District, CA
An introduction to nine sea creatures named for their resemblance to human food.
After the opening invitation, each spread in this collection describes a fish, sea star, slug, or jelly with a common name that refers to its food look-alike. Large stock photos show the creature, usually in a recognizable reef or ocean habitat. A headline sentence describes its location and locomotion. A short paragraph explains its appearance and how its foodlike features contribute to its survival. A pineapple fish's spiky scutes, a chocolate chip sea star's horns, and a sea apple's shape when inflated are actually protection. The green in a lettuce sea slug comes from the chloroplasts it eats, which convert sunlight to sugar to provide energy. The curly arms on a cauliflower jelly collect its food; the yellow or orange bell of the egg yolk jelly reflects the food it has eaten. The color of a banana wrasse indicates its gender. The shape of the pancake batfish and the color and texture of the pizza crust sea slug provide camouflage. Finally, there are fast facts including alternative common names, Latin names, size, range, habitat, predators, and one more tasty factoid. Grodzicki offers a surprising amount of nutrition with this menu, using appropriate vocabulary explained in context and defined in a glossary. Arguing that "weird and wonderful sea creatures deserve some love too!" she invites readers to continue their exploration.
An appetizing addition to the nature shelf. (further reading, quiz, photo acknowledgments) (Informational picture book. 4-9)