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: This Is the Earth, by Diane Z. Shore and Jessica Alexander, paintings by Wendell Minor

Shore, Diane Z., and Alexander, Jessica. This is the Earth. Paintings by Wendell Minor. Harper, 2016. Unp. $17.99. ISBN: 9780060555269. Gr. 1+. P8 Q8

shore-this-is-the-earthThe end papers of this book have a painting of the Earth seen from the moon. A photograph was taken by astronaut Bill Anders who commented “We came all this way to explore the moon, and the most important thing is that we discovered the Earth.” The message of this book is to take care of Earth. The environmental message is told in a rhyming text with illustrations that help to carry the message.

Verdict: What a great book to read aloud to a class which is studying the earth. It would also be great to use along with Earth Day.

November 2016 review by Carol Bernardi.