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Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Most Amazing Creature in the Sea, written by Brenda Z. Guiberson and illustrated by Gennady Spirin. Henry Holt and Company, Macmillan. 2015. $20.50 ages 6 and up

My natural antifreeze keeps my blood flowing in the icy water I call home. I have fangs and crushing teeth. There are even teeth in my throat to help me crunch through the hard shells of oysters, sea urchins, lobsters, and crabs. My teeth wear down quickly, so every year I grow a new set. That's why I am the most amazing creature ..."

I like the confidence of these creatures of the sea. In first person voice, they assure the reader that each is indeed the most amazing. Who are we to tell them that they are not. Each has a pretty incredible reason for wanting readers to think of it as the 'one'.

Just as I was impressed with the information garnered and shared, the intended audience will find it astounding. It is a perfect book to be read aloud in early years classrooms, and for older children to read on their own. Everyone is sure to be amazed by the reasons voiced. I think it will send intent readers on a search for further data on their choice for most amazing.

The four earlier collaborations from these two remarkable artists have provided us with tremendously interesting reading, and we can only hope for more of the same - Ice Bears, 2008, Life in the Boreal Forest, 2009, Frog Song, 2013 and The Greatest Dinosaur Ever, 2013. In each they show that strong research makes for engaging and informative work that will appeal to many. This one is a terrific mentor text for young writers, showing them how to use what they are learning to create text of interest to others.

Gennady Spirin's exceptional close-ups of the myriad of creatures described show us what their habitat must be like, while matching the text created by Ms. Guiberson. The double-page spreads are attractive and mesmerizing for the detail provided, encouraging careful attention to the creature pictured. Readers are sure to fascinated by each, and by its reasoning.

As a female, I lure prey close to my mouth with the light that dangles from my dorsal
spine. With my large, toothy jaws, I can swallow animals twice my size. Smaller males
join their bodies to mine, latching on with their teeth until their skin fuses into mine.
I eat for us all, sharing the nutrients from my bloodstream. I see for us all when each
male attached to me loses his eyes. That's why I am the most amazing creature in the sea!"

It's tough to ignore that as pretty darn astonishing, isn't it?

Which creature would you choose?

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