My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Raincoast Books
First Published: March 29th, 2016
Publisher: First Second
Recommended Age: 8+
Genres & Themes: Graphic Novel, Nonfiction, Science, Ecosystems, Oceans
This volume: in Coral Reefs, we learn all about these tiny, adorable sea animals! This absorbing look at ocean science covers the biology of coral reefs as well as their ecological importance. Nonfiction comics genius Maris Wicks brings to bear her signature combination of hardcore cuteness and in-depth science.
What a great idea it is to make comics about interesting scientific subjects.
Why is it a great idea? Well, a lot of kids have interest in dinosaurs, bats and dogs, for instance, but don’t necessarily want to read a nonfiction or picture book about them. What happens is that picture books are usually very short, so they cover the basics only, and the more common book format can be challenging (and less fun).
I, for one, enjoy discussing animals and scientific phenomena, but the quickest way to make me leave your presence is by throwing a scientific book at me. I tried to love science for a fairly long time (took classes until I was 19), but science and I just do not click.
Comics and I do, however, click, so it’s like a common ground. I must admit I never really thought about coral reefs before. I knew they existed and that they were quite lovely, but I had no idea they were so important to the ecosystem.
But it makes sense. Everything in this comic makes sense. This is another reason why I cannot read lengthy science books: they hardly ever make sense to me. I always have so many questions, which is why I prefer discussing to reading. But Maris Wicks predicted most of my questions. It’s a really good overview of coral reefs.
I was surprised to learn that coral reefs act as houses for fish, big and small. They protect them from bigger predators and help them catch prey, depending. And I was delighted to learn that their colour was not theirs—it’s given to them by one of their inhabitants.
I hope all school libraries have acquired this series of comics, because it’s that accessible and engaging.
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