The Great Barrier Reef is like a gigantic underwater forest. It is over 2000 kilometres long and every corner is teeming with colourful animals. Everything is alive or made by living creatures.
Coral is made up of millions of tiny star-shaped animals known as polyps. All the polyps in one coral colony work together to make the hard parts of the coral. Different types of corals grow in different ways to make wonderful shapes and sizes.
The Great Barrier Reef is a living treasure, unique to Australia. It’s been there for thousands of years and is home to animals big and small, shy and bold. The Great Barrier Reef Book introduces many of the animals who call the reef home. Millions of individual coral polyps work together to make the coral reef. Without them, none of the other animals could survive. And even they survive only because of even tinier plants that draw energy from the sun. Many animals cooperate to survive, just like the coral and the plants that live on them. For example, clown fish can move safely within the tentacles of the anemone by covering themselves with a thin slime that is not recognised by the anemone as foreign. The illustrations are mostly photos and fact boxes provide further information. There is a guide to the food and predator of animals featured, and a visual guide relates their size to humans.
The Great Barrier Reef Book is not designed to reveal everything about the reef. It wouldn’t be possible. But it is a sampler, offering brief, factual delights to tempt the reader. The photos bring many animals, large and small close enough to have a good luck. Information is specific and meaty while accessible to the target audience. Contents page, index, glossary all offer navigational tools to assist discovery. There are subject headings to entice the reluctant reader, from ‘Sneaky Slugs’, ‘A Fish Carwash’ and ‘A Snot Sleeping Bag’, but enough information for the hungriest of young readers. The first opening indicates that climate change is not good for the reef and a final opening provides some simple changes that every family can make to help. Recommended for junior-primary and beyond.
The Great Barrier Reef Book: Solar Powered, Dr Mark Norman
Black Dog Books 2009
review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author
This book can be purchased online at Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.