Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews



Beverly McMillan, John A. Musick
For ages 9 to 12
Simon and Schuster, 2007   ISBN: 978-1416938590

So often, when we think of our planet, we think of cities full of people, panoramic mountain ranges, or great plains covered with tall grasses. For the most part, very few us remember that most our planet is covered with water. Only thirty percent of the Earth’s surface is terrestrial.

This book explores the Earth’s oceans, beginning with an introduction that shows us (among other things) that the Earth really is a “Blue Planet,” and that from space people see more ocean than land. The oceans began to form around 4.6 billion years ago, when the planet was in its infancy. It is believed that rain and melting comet ice started the process, and by 200 million years ago the single continent of Pangaea was surrounded by an enormous ocean. The oceans have volved to become complex places. They have their own topography, they influence the planet’s climate and weather patterns, and a wide variety of marine habitats exist in them. Oceans have served as “Highways for Exploration,” and they have witnessed many tragic accidents, such as the sinking of RMS Titanic. Oceans supply us with food and green energy, and the ocean floor is rich with minerals, natural gas, and oil.

Following this comprehensive introduction, the authors go on to look at various ocean habitats in depth. These include shorelines, estuaries, coral reefs, deep sea areas, and the ocean floor. Readers will find out which forces influence these habitats, what kinds of animals live in them, and more.

The narrative then wraps up with a section called “Oceans of Wonder” where facts and figures abound. Here readers will find out where the biggest waves occur, what is the fastest sea creature, what is the biggest sea creature, and other information.

Throughout the book, readers will find pages that are rich with maps, diagrams, photos, and three-dimensional illustrations. Indeed, some of the illustrations are so lifelike they almost seem to leap off the pages. Readers will be hard pressed to find a better introduction to oceans.

This is one in a series of Insiders books published by Simon and Schuster.