Monday, June 16, 2008

Plunge Right In

Erudite Mondays at HalfSoled Boots
Volume 4, Number 2

Laurent Ballista and Pierre Descamp

I saw the girls reading this (again) the other day, so I thought I'd peer over their shoulders and give you a little glimpse of this amazing book.

As a homeschooling mum I am always on the lookout for interesting resources. I don't really believe in limiting a child by their age level - that is, not giving them a book just because it is above their current comprehension or reading level. Content - that's another matter. I wouldn't hand Charlotte The Catcher in the Rye, for instance, or Dracula.

My kids have been glued to this book ever since it arrived, and they still haven't discovered everything in it. It's not directed to children, so the text is advanced and there is no attempt to make the science easier for young readers. This makes it a good challenge for the kids, and also means they get worn out fairly soon while reading it...there's a lot of information for a young mind to sort through.

The volume is over-sized, as a coffee-table book should be. The photographs are stunning - you can really count on National Geographic, can't you?

The coolest thing about this book are the photo captions. These contain the name of the animal, the location they were photographed, and the actual size. It's amazing to see some intimidating spiny crab with huge jaws, and then to read that the actual size is 5/8".

If you want to be smarter, read this book. Here is the chapter list:

The Ocean - That Great Unknown
The Undersea Prairies
The Polar Oceans
The Undersea Plains
The Undersea Forests
The Undersea Mountains
The Oases of the Open Ocean
The Coral Reefs
The Law of the Strongest
Adapting to Their Environment
The Love Life of Marine Animals
Living Together
The Indispensable Oceans

There is a heavy focus on sustainability in the face of the human population explosion, and the effects of human consumption on the world's ocean ecosystems. It doesn't hit you over the head, though - it shows you the breathtaking photos, tells you about symbiosis, describes the changing chemistry of water. You can't help but reach your own conclusions.

Every so often there is a two-page spread of text entitled "The Expert's Opinion", on such subjects as "Arctic Ecosystems", "Sustainable Fishing: The Great Challenge", "Coral Reefs: A Precious Asset in Peril", or "Tourism and Marine Biodiversity".

If you get a chance to look through this book, take it. It's a beautiful and challenging volume - in a jaded world there is still an entirely different, strange and wonderful planet to discover.

HalfSoledBoots Highly Specialised Book Rating System
Planet Ocean gets

Reread - Constantly
Given to Others - I won't let it out of my house but I push it on everyone who comes here
Bookplate - Yes



Rachel said...

I have a whole shelf on one of my bookcases dedicated just to these types of books...tributes to the natural world. All have stunning photographs, and every time I pick one up (which is often), I learn something new. It makes me smile to see your girls enjoying that one so much!

Karen S said...

I think I need that book! It would do nicely along with The Earth from Above as picture gazing with kids!

Shan said...

"The Earth From Above" is amazing! I love that book.

rickismom said...

WOW looks lovely! I am also always looking for good books (my daughter is not homeschooled, but I adapt her materials as she is in inclusion)

Gwen said...

I like the photos with the little fingers in them. Very sweet!