Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Hello, Fish! Visiting The Coral Reef

Hello, Fish! Visiting The Coral Reef

Sylvia A. Earle
Photographer: Wolcott Henry
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 6 to 8
National Geographic Children's Books, 1999   ISBN: 0792271033

There is an incredible variety of fish living in the seas and oceans on our planet. Many of the most colorful and exotic species live on coral reefs, which are underwater structures that have been built by tiny coral animals. The reefs create a perfect habitat for all kinds of fish, and we are going to meet just a few of them in this book.

We begin our coral reef visit by paying a call on a spotted moray eel. Though these animals are dangerous “if you happen to be a small fish or octopus,” they are not a danger to humans. In fact the author, Sylvia Earle, feels that these “gentle and curious fish” remind her of kittens.

Next we meet a clownfish. These colorful little animals live among the stinging tentacles of sea anemones. Other creatures get strung if they venture too close to the anemones, but the clownfish have a “slimy goo” on their fins and scales that protects them from being stung.

Then there is a damselfish, a beautiful fish with yellow scales. Though they look delicate, these are very determined and courageous animals, and they will chase away animals that are much bigger than they are, even humans!

With touches of humor, lyrical sections of text, and an obvious keen appreciation for her subject, Sylvia Earle tells young readers about twelve very different kinds of coral reef fish. For each animal she provides us with plenty of interesting facts, and children will be captivated by the accompanying photographs that were taken by Wolcott Henry.