Publishers Weekly Review
In a book that's part compendium of fascinating ocean facts, part wake-up call, Barnard (The Genius of Islam) sounds a warning bell for the world's seas. After an introduction that discusses the rise of overfishing, global warming, and ocean pollution, the narrative turns to six sea-dwelling creatures (blue-green algae, coral, jellyfish, orcas, sea turtles, and tuna), speculating how each might fare if these trends continue. Noteworthy biological details about each organism precede disturbing facts about the negative impact modern societies have on ocean environments, and in turn, these creatures: "If you do eat tuna, beware. All tuna... contain at least some mercury in their bodies.... More than two tuna sandwiches a week is too much." The detail and perspectives in Barnard's paintings will awe readers, even as some scenes appear surreal: an overhead shot of a kayaker paddling into a garbage patch; a turtle's shell horribly deformed by a plastic six-pack ring. This thought-provoking and often alarming message, wrapped in stunning marine images, may indeed spur some to action, as the author hopes: "We need science. We need you." Ages 5-8. (May) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Library Journal Review
Gr 4-6-An engaging presentation from Barnard, who reveals the devastating effects of ocean warming, carbon dioxide absorption, pollution, and overfishing on the earth's waters and the resulting decline of many aquatic species. The author focuses on six different creatures (jellyfish, killer whales, sea turtles, tuna, corals, and blue-green algae) to first paint a picture of the incredible diversity of the oceans and then impress upon readers how humans are disrupting this fragile ecosystem (plastic bags eaten by turtles, coral bleaching). The large illustrations, done in oil on canvas, are rich with deep blues and are often mesmerizing. While the picture book format may signal a younger audience, the text is quite advanced. An opening map, "An Ocean of Plastic," identifies currents and garbage patches, and a closing map, "Hot, Acidic, and Bleached," tracks levels of coral bleaching worldwide-both are fascinating. VERDICT An impassioned call to protect Earth's oceans, sure to stimulate conversations. Consider for large STEM collections.-Nancy Call, Santa Cruz Public Libraries, Aptos, CA © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Booklist Review
Beautiful oil paintings display ethereal jellyfish and sea turtles swimming through a rich blue sea. Then another page shows a baby sea turtle swimming by a wormlike knot of garbage, a plastic six-pack ring caught on its flipper. This stark contrast runs through the book, as Barnard pits six ocean creatures against the very real threat of pollution and global warming. Jellyfish, orcas, sea turtles, tuna, corals, and blue-green algae are the subjects of Barnard's study, and in dense paragraphs he unloads their evolutionary history, roles in ocean biomes and Earth's climate, and threats they face from human activity. It is a bleak reality check. Plastic is equated with poison, an unadorned truth that becomes increasingly horrific as readers study the endpapers mapping garbage patches and an illustration detailing how a small fish's dinner of plastic debris contaminates the entire food chain. Despite the unsettling statistics, including ocean acidification and dead zones, the evolutionary wonders on display will hopefully inspire readers to help protect this vulnerable, vital Earth system.--Smith, Julia Copyright 2017 Booklist