Monday, July 22, 2019

Ocean: Secrets of the Deep by Sabrina Weiss, illustrated by Giulia De Amicis

Ocean: Secrets of the Deep by Sabrina Weiss,
illustrated by Giulia De Amicis
What on Earth Publishing, 2019, 72 pages 

What to do on a hot, hot weekend? Go to the ocean, of course. But if you can't get to the actual ocean, reading about it is the next best thing. So, as Sabrina Weiss says in her introduction to Ocean: "Take a deep breath and let's plunge beneath the waves!"

We are taught that there are five oceans in the world, each with its own distinctive characteristics as you go from place to place, but according to Weiss, they are actually connected to each other, forming one huge, global ocean, and holding 96.5% of all the water found on earth. But how much do we really know about the ocean? Not much, it seems.
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Weiss begins her ocean explorations by introducing readers to the five different ocean zones - the sunlight zone, the twilight zone, the midnight zone, the abyss, and hadal zone. Zones are based on depth and the amount of sunlight that reaches them, or doesn't reach them, as the case may be. Weiss describes what is known about each zone, and the names and characteristics of the sea creatures that inhabit each zone.
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From zones, Weiss looks at the ocean's different ecosystems. An ecosystem consists of the living and non-living things needed to support it, including animals, plants, organisms, and soil, plus air, water, rocks, and sunlight. Each element has its own part to play in supporting an ecosystem. Polar seas, coral reefs, deltas, salt marshes, mangroves, and kelp forests are all examined, including the different species that inhabit them.
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I found the sections on Marine Life very interesting. Ocean life is teeming with activity and Weiss gives readers an excellent overview of who's who, where they live and what they eat, and includes information of unusual friendships or schools of fish, because everyone, including fish, knows there's safety in numbers when traveling. Budding marine biologists will discover how marine animals communicate with each other, how to tell the difference between male and female fish, and those sea creatures that are masters of disguise. One thing I discovered is that a symbiotic relationship exists between some species when they visit cleaning stations like coral reefs. They swim in for a cleaning, and other species will pick off and eat parasites, dead skin, algae and slime off that have accumulated on the visitor's body.. It sounds gross but everyone benefits from it, and as Weiss points out, it's like a day at the spa.

It would be irresponsible if a book like this didn't discuss how our ocean is in peril. Pollution, overfishing, climate change, warming water temperatures, dying coral reefs, and an ocean full of plastic are all putting our ocean and the marine life living there in jeopardy. Weiss not only discusses these perils, but she also give some suggestions for how we can all help protect the ocean.

One of the things that makes this book so wonderful to explore are the graphics. Every aspect of marine life is authentically illustrated and identified. The art is as lovely as it is informative, and will no doubt elicit a lot of exploration and conversation.

Another one of the interesting parts of this book is the four-page spread devoted to myths and legends about the ocean, including historic speculation about the whether Atlantis really existed and if it did, where it might have been.
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This is a book that is chockablock with information, but as Weiss concludes, there is so much more to explore, so much more we don't know and maybe, just maybe a young reader out there will be the next person to discover more of the oceans's secrets.

This book is recommended for readers age 9+
This book was gratefully provided to me by Media Masters Publicity

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