cover image At the Sea Floor Café: Odd Ocean Critter Poems

At the Sea Floor Café: Odd Ocean Critter Poems

Leslie Bulion, illus. by Leslie Evans, Peachtree, $14.95 (48p) ISBN 978-1-56145-565-2

Dexterous formal verse about sea creatures pairs with pleasingly abstract block prints in this informative, fun collection. A "kyrielle" shrewdly characterizes its elusive subject: "We don't know why the convict fish/ Lives so completely hermitish,/ Skulks hiding, never swims about,/ But eats its young then spits them out." Sidebars further educate readers about the menagerie, which includes bottlenose dolphins, sea spiders, and an egg sac–toting squid, while appended notes offer a crash course on poetic form. Beguiling lines like "Osedax, the legless worm,/ Lands on whale-fall, digs in firm./ Eyeless, mouthless, gills like plumes,/ Bone-devouring zombie blooms" should spark readers' interest in poetry and marine biology alike. Ages 8–12. (Apr.)