Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

At the Sea Floor Cafe: Odd Ocean Critter Poems

At the Sea Floor Cafe: Odd Ocean Critter Poems

Leslie Bulion
Illustrator:  Leslie Evans 
For ages 9 to 12
Peachtree Publishers, 2011   ISBN: 978-1561455652

Many people imagine that the ocean is a rather uniform place. In fact it is full of very different habitats. There are habitats that are in shallow waters, and those that are far out in deep waters where darkness prevails. There are places that are “boiling hot, where acids seep,” and those that are “frigid and pressured and mountainy-steep.”

In these very unique places animals of all kinds live. Some are huge and some are miniscule. They are “jelly-ish, delicate, venomy, spiny,” and they are “hunters, foragers, hiders, and peekers. The amazing thing is that there must be dozens of species out there that we have yet to discover. After all, we have only explored “the tiniest fraction” of this watery world.

After inviting us to “Dive in and see the sea,” the author of these poems takes us underwater to meet a selection of marine animals. For each animal she had created a poem, which is accompanied by a section of text that tells us more about the animal in question. For example on one page we meet the Jeweled Anemone Crab. In the poem we hear about how the crab defends its “secondhand shell home / with anemone jewelry.” In the text below the poem we learn about how these crabs live in shells that they find, and how they put living sea anemones on the shells to serve as camouflage and protection.

On another page we read about narwhal whales and how people have observed two of these animals “sparring” as they rub their long single unicorn like tusks together. The odd thing is that these animals are not fighting at all. They are actually brushing their teeth!

Full of wonderful poems written using many different kinds of poetic forms, and packed with fascinating facts about marine animals, this is a book of poetry that combines art and science in a singular and memorable way. Throughout the book colorful block print illustrations provide a delightful backdrop for the poems and the text.

At the back of the book, readers will find a glossary where scientific terms are explained and a section about the poetry forms used in the book.