cover image Life in the Ocean: The Story of Oceanographer Sylvia Earle

Life in the Ocean: The Story of Oceanographer Sylvia Earle

Claire A. Nivola. FSG/Foster, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-374-38068-7

Nivola’s (Orani: My Father’s Village) folk-styled paintings immediately pull readers into this short biography of oceanographer Sylvia Earle, a pioneer and entrepreneur in her field who also set an example for women of the mid–20th century. The initial spread of Earle’s childhood farm is a Grandma Moses–like collection of pale greens, earth tones, and diminutive motifs that invites closer inspection to find other details: a pair of mallards in a dusky pond, a red cardinal atop a willow. The panoramic illustrations soon move underwater, as Earle’s family relocates to the Gulf Coast, and her interests lead her deeper into ocean exploration. Especially stunning is a bright watercolor of Earle scuba diving amid a tropical reef, the coral and sea life forming a colorful border as she swims between the pages. The straightforward narrative highlights Earle’s career and also provides a few intimate closeups from specific dives (“Moments before the collision, the whale swerved gracefully, tilting her great head to look into Sylvia’s eyes”). Earle’s zeal for ocean exploration and preservation is evident in this visually striking introduction to a remarkable scientist. Ages 4–8. (Mar.)