Monday, August 13, 2012
Nonfiction Monday: Ocean Sunlight, How Tiny Plants Feed the Seas by Molly Bang and Penny Chisolm
It's more than just a beautifully illustrated nonfiction read-aloud. The illustrations and text are so skillfully intertwined, that the authors are able to integrate much more information than an easy nonfiction book would usually include without losing the attention of young children.
The book explains the process of photosynthesis as it works in the ocean so that even young children can understand it. Unlike the land, where energy is taken into plants then eaten by humans and animals, the ocean only has plants in very shallow areas. Instead, the ocean has phytoplankton. These tiny plants are eaten by tiny animals, zooplankton, which are then eaten by progressively larger creatures. Deep in the ocean where phytoplankton cannot reach, there is Marine snow, tiny bits of organisms that floats to the bottom of the ocean where it becomes food for bacteria and other creatures, generating a process similar to photosynthesis. Phytoplankton need the nutrients generated by this process and they get them as the ocean is stirred by currents.
The book finishes with a detailed section giving further information about each step of the processes described in the book and including some further resources to explore.
Molly Bang's stunning illustrations blaze with light and color. The text is blended into the illustrations and formatted to hold the reader's attention as it moves in and around the art. Blues, greens, and yellows flow through the book, showing the light from the sun, the green growth of plants, and the massive blues of the sea.
Verdict: This is an awesome nonfiction read-aloud. If needed, it can be adapted a little to shorten it, but the glowing illustrations and carefully laid out text should hold the attention of a large number of children with a really good reader. I don't know how I missed this one, but I am remedying the error immediatey!