Gr 3-6-This concisely written introduction describes the three main types of natural habitats in which sea horses live, their geographical range, outstanding physical characteristics, defense mechanisms, diet and feeding methods, courting and mating behavior, birth and development of young, and the threat humankind poses to their survival. One-to-three sharp, well-composed color photographs appear on almost every page and are closely matched to the text. The series of three microphotographs in the chapter on reproduction are remarkable; they depict the development of an embryo inside a male sea horse's pouch. Most, but not all, of the species depicted are identified by their scientific names (11 different species are identified). A color-coded world map indicating sea-horse distribution and a color drawing comparing the length of six species are also included. Well organized, this title includes some information about these curious beasts that is not offered elsewhere. For instance, the text refers to gene research that scientists are currently conducting to narrow down the number of common names. Another section offers a detailed description of the daily greeting ritual that a mated pair of sea horses perform. Elaine Landau's Sea Horses (Children's, 1999) covers similar material but does not offer as much in-depth information on behavior. Rebecca Stefoff's Sea Horse (Benchmark, 1996), aimed at a younger reading level, concentrates primarily on physical characteristics. Walker's Sea Horses does the best job of capturing the essence of this unusual creature.-Karey Wehner, San Francisco Public Library Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Gr 2-4-Walker presents basic information about the animal including where it lives, what it eats, and how it reproduces. The text is accessible to newly independent readers. Some of the more difficult terms are defined in the glossary, but it may be a bit difficult for kids to identify which words they'll find there since they're not set off from the rest of the text in any way. Exceptionally clear, color photos add a lot of extra appeal to the presentation. Kids will particularly enjoy trying to find the colorful creatures camouflaged in coral. There's not a huge amount of detail here, especially with regard to differences among sea horse species, but the fundamentals are covered quite well. The chapter headings give clues to their subject material-e.g., "Sea Horse Homes" examines various habitats, including coral reefs and sea-grass beds. The final chapter discusses the harm humans have done to sea horses and steps that have been taken to help them. This appealing title will be useful for reports and the eye-catching photos should attract its share of browsers, too.-Arwen Marshall, Minneapolis Public Library Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.