Book review: The New Ocean: The Fate of Life in a Changing Sea, by Bryn Barnard

Barnard, Bryn. The New Ocean: The Fate of Life in a Changing Sea. Knopf, 2017. $18.99. unp. ISBN 978-0-375-87049-1. Ages 9-12. P6 Q9

Pollution, global warming, overfishing—these are all problems that are creating a “new ocean,” more similar to the simplicity of the past with the loss of many of its 230,000 species. Four pages about each of six different species—jellyfish, orcas, sea turtles, tuna, coral, and blue-green algae—detail their history, characteristics, and problems they face from the carelessness of humans. The two-page conclusion briefly describes five extinctions of the past with ways that young people can help reverse the tragedy.

Verdict: Although heavy in text, the narration sometimes uses generalities, for example with no specific information about the extinctions, that make the book more accessible to younger people. The full-page oil illustrations cross the fold for a more magnificent image, and the two double-page maps in the end papers show the areas of garbage and the ocean acidification during the past two decades. A thought-provoking wake-up call to the world of the future.

May/June 2017 review by Nel Ward.


Book review: Let’s Visit the Ocean, by Jennifer Boothroyd

Boothroyd, Jennifer. Let’s Visit the Ocean. (Biome Explorers series) Lerner, 2017. $25.32. 32p. ISBN 9781512411942. Ages 5-8. (1st grade). Table of Contents, Glossary, Further Reading, Index.   P8 Q8

Living by the ocean and doing ocean units with students, I really enjoyed this book and the photographs. It includes table of contents, glossary, Further Reading, and index. An explanation of the term biome when first used in the book would have been useful, and kelp was identified as not being a plant but was included in the plant section. It did explain that kelp is algae. A teacher’s guide are resources are under Biome Explorers series at

Verdict:  It is a useful book in libraries to help students understand the ocean.

March 2017 review by Deborah Gwynn.