cover image Ocean Animals

Ocean Animals

Gary Turbak, Rising Moon. Rising Moon Books, $14.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-87358-574-3

The Survivors series debuts with this duo of books about endangered creatures and the conditions that threaten their existence. In each book, brief essays (of about 100 words) introduce 10 animals, from the well-known gray wolf to the Mount Graham red squirrel, which lives only on one Arizona mountain; from the tiny salt marsh harvest mouse of California to the humpback whale, which weighs ``more than six elephants.'' Focusing on species in and around North America, Turbak adopts a kid-friendly tone (e.g., ``If there is a dam nearby, [manatees] like to float in the water rushing out of the dam, like surfing''), which adds even more gravity to his recitations of rudimentary reasons for extinction: human killing, pesticide poisoning, loss of habitat. Watercolor, ink and colored-pencil illustrations endear the animals to young readers without sacrificing accuracy or sobriety. Explanatory labels float around the illustrations, adding information about each creature's anatomy. A rather uninspired appendix recommends that readers learn more about the animals and write letters to Congress. Ages 6-9. (Oct.)