Here’s what I knew about sea otters before I read this book.
- They are adorable.
- They crack open shellfish while laying on their backs floating in the sea.
- They wrap seaweed around themselves so they don’t float away.
There you go. None of those facts actually show up in this book because it is not an “all about sea otters” book.
Instead, it is what happened when a scientist had a question. In northern California, Elkhorn Slough is one of the most nutrient-rich estuaries in the world. This is because of the agriculture run-off from the Salinas Valley. One would expect the slough to be choked with algae like many other places. However, it is not. It is healthy. Brent Hughes wanted to know why. SPOILER ALERT! It has something to do with sea otters. Whaaaat?! You say? Brent said that, too.
In this photographic picture book, Patricia Newman tells Brent’s story of discovery, and includes lots of interesting tidbits related to the topics discussed. While I didn’t come away with much new knowledge about sea otters, I was impressed by the way Brent clearly used the scientific process and how it led to new understanding. Newman includes a student version of the experiment Hughes did, which can be done in any part of the world. Also included, is a solid discussion of food chains and ecosystems. There is history! extinction issues! (which I didn’t even know about) and some information of how sea otters help in other ways! There is a lot to be excited about by this book!
Teachers of the intermediate and middle school students need this book in their classroom libraries. Of course, school librarians should make sure it is part of their collection. Home school parents, go straight to your local library and check this book out!
Wait. Why is this review on a blog about food for learning and behavior? Because sometimes it’s fun to tie some good eating with some good reading. Any day now, you can expect some recipes that remind you of this book to show up.
I was not compensated for this book review nor did I receive a copy of the book to review. I did, however, go to the library and check it out. This review is my opinion only.
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