cover image The New Ocean: The Fate of Life in the Changing Sea

The New Ocean: The Fate of Life in the Changing Sea

Bryn Barnard. Knopf, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-375-87049-1

In a book that’s part compendium of fascinating ocean facts, part wake-up call, Barnard (The Genius of Islam) sounds a warning bell for the world’s seas. After an introduction that discusses the rise of overfishing, global warming, and ocean pollution, the narrative turns to six sea-dwelling creatures (blue-green algae, coral, jellyfish, orcas, sea turtles, and tuna), speculating how each might fare if these trends continue. Noteworthy biological details about each organism precede disturbing facts about the negative impact modern societies have on ocean environments, and in turn, these creatures: “If you do eat tuna, beware. All tuna... contain at least some mercury in their bodies.... More than two tuna sandwiches a week is too much.” The detail and perspectives in Barnard’s paintings will awe readers, even as some scenes appear surreal: an overhead shot of a kayaker paddling into a garbage patch; a turtle’s shell horribly deformed by a plastic six-pack ring. This thought-provoking and often alarming message, wrapped in stunning marine images, may indeed spur some to action, as the author hopes: “We need science. We need you.” Ages 5–8. (May)