Without the benefit of scuba diving classes and a collection of rented equipment, most children will not grow to see the coral reefs of the world in person. Brought vividly to life in the imaginations of children through the major animated film Finding Nemo and the short, live action segments that make up “Come See the Sea” on children’s television programming, the coral reefs of the world serve as a sticky point of interest to delve into the life cycles of the creatures who make this fascinating ecosystem their home.
In Coral Reef - part of the One Small Square series for six to nine-year-old children, an in-depth, vividly illustrated journey travels through a small portion of the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia. Focusing in on an three-dimensional section of reef measuring four feet to a side and extending down in a rectangular column roughly twice that in length, series author Donald M. Silver guides young readers through the intricacies of reef flora, fauna, reproduction, nocturnal creatures, inter-species cooperation and many other fascinating features of this vibrant ecosystem.
With such a treasure of interesting animals and plants to work with, Silver unearths a plethora of fascinating trivia, facts, and foundational premises for life in the reef. From fish that cover themselves with slime at night to mask their aroma, to those who masquerade as friendly helpers in order to steal a bit of flesh, a wealth of memorable encounters are brought vividly to life through the visual pictures crafted through a vivid use of descriptive prose.
In Silver’s trademark style the dangers in currents around reefs for divers is briefly pointed out, as well as some short safety tips. Although Silver realizes that children aren’t likely to be making a hands-on exploration of the reef themselves, the series-wide emphasis on appropriate safety precautions makes its presence known in this title as well.