Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Beneath the Waves: Celebrating the Ocean Through Pictures, Poems, and Stories by Stephanie Warren Drimmer

Beneath the Waves: Celebrating the Ocean 
Through Pictures, Poems, and Stories
by Stephanie Warren Drimmer
National Geographic Kids, 2021, 192 pages

This year's Earth Day theme is "Restore the Earth" and what better place to begin than with the earth's oceans. After all, there is more ocean on earth than there is land, and unfortunately, it has become a dumping ground for a lot of man-made garbage, making it a good place to begin restoring. But before that, it would be good to get to know the oceans...and Beneath the Waves is the perfect place to begin. If you look at the Table of Contents you can see that it is a book chockablock with information accompanied by some wonderful poetry and many exquisite photographs.

The book begins with an explanation of the three ocean zones. There is the sunlit zone, the twilight zone, and the midnight zone and readers will learn that each one is a world unto itself. As you can see, the book is arranged in eleven chapters beginning at the ocean's edge and ending in the extreme ocean depths. The last chapter looks at People and Oceans.

Each chapter includes two-page spreads on each of the topics covered, and includes lots of relevant interesting factoids. For example, in On the Beach readers discover what a beach is and how those tiny grains of sand are created. There is also information on sea shells and all different kinds of beach living creatures, from crabs to turtles and beach birds (yes, there's many more than just seagulls waiting to snatch the ice cream right off your cone). 

Throughout the book, each chapter ends with a section called Sea Sleuths that looks at a topic relative to the chapter's subject matter. Why is the Sea Salty?, The Myth of Mermaids, The Myth of the Kraken, and The Search for Longitude are just some of what readers will marvel at. 

The next chapter, Between Two Worlds, looks at animals that live on both land and in the water. Here you will meet swimming lizards and creatures most of us are familiar with - seal and sea lions. Interesting factoid: do you know the difference between a seal and a seal lion? And that seals share their ancestry with dogs? There are also a wide variety of sea birds here, too. And in some parts of the world, there are crocodiles and even some fish that will leave the water and fly through the air. 

Chapter Three, Wading In, begins with a look at the different kinds of sea snails living in the ocean, and the variety of colorful boneless echinoderms or spiny creatures such as sand dollars and sea urchins. This is followed by a chapter on Reef Life, all about the different kinds of colorful coral reefs that flourish in the tropical parts of the ocean and the wide variety of marine species that dwell in these coral reefs.

Leaving the shallower waters, the next few chapter explore the deeper parts of the ocean. First up are Ocean Forests, what they are, for example, eel-grass, seaweed, and kelp. and who lives there, creatures like crabs, leafy sea dragons, octopuses, and the enemy of ocean forests, the spiny sea urchin and the enemy of the sea urchin, the otter, among others that readers will learn about. 

The next chapter introduces The Open Ocean, which covers more than half the earth and is more than two miles deep. This is the home to animals like the giant blue whale and the tiny plankton. In between, there are jelly fish, schools of different kinds of fish, sea creatures like the cuttlefish, which is really part of the mollusk family and not a fish at all. Like octopuses and squids, they have the ability to change their skin pattern, color and texture to blend into their surroundings and fool any hungry predators. And of course, the open ocean is home to sharks and dolphins.

Chapter Seven, On the Move, follows those ocean creatures that are either swimming in search of food or breeding grounds or hitching a ride on these distance swimmers. Readers learn about the journey of salmon, humpback whales, and leatherback sea turtles, as well as hitchhikers like seahorses and barnacles. There is also information on the many migrating sea birds.

In Life on the Icy Edge, readers heads to the north and south poles to learn about penguins, seals, walruses, polar bears, orcas and narwhals, and there is an informative 2 page Sea Sleuths spread called Arctic Experts, all about the Inuit, the indigenous people living there and who know the arctic better than anyone. 

In the next chapter, Deep Down, readers enter the twilight zone, where sunlight no longer filters in and there is just blackness. Here there are some really strange sea creatures to discover, such as the hatchetfish, the Sloan's viper, and the lanternfish.

Chapter 10 brings readers into the Extreme Ocean, the least known place on earth. Here there are "mountains, geysers that spew superheated noxious water, and all kinds of living things that make these alien places their home." (pg 159) And this is where shipwrecks provide a home for all kinds of deep water species, like sear stars, crabs and fish.

Finally, Chapter 11 is about People and Oceans. This includes spreads on the history of ocean exploration, the importance of oceans, ways of protecting oceans and their occupants, and finally, how people have polluted our oceans and why I chose this book to highlight Earth Day 2021.

Beneath the Waves make the ocean sound like a pretty amazing place - beautiful, scary, powerful, busy, and necessary for sustaining life on earth. Thankfully, this book ends on a note of hope - "...success stories [that] show. when people step in to help, they can make a difference.' (pg 184)

Wondering what kids can do for Earth Day and every day after, and to help clean up and restore the ocean? You can find all kinds of activities and projects just right for youngsters at National Geographic Kids Celebrates Earth Day.

Or visit the official Earth Day website HERE

Meet the Author:                                                                                            Stephanie Warren Drimmer writes books and magazine stories for kids. She covers all topics weird and wonderful, including adorable animals, freaky brain experiments, and the hunt for new planets. She is a longtime contributor to National Geographic Kids magazine and has written many books for National Geographic kids, including Hey, Baby!, Mastermind, The Book of Heroines, Ultimate Secrets Revealed, and Ultimate Weatherpedia. Drimmer studied science journalism at New York University. You can find Stephanie on, and on Twitter @Stephdrimmer 

This book is recommended for readers age 8+
This book was received from Media Masters Publicity in exchange for a review

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