cover image Luminous: Living Things That Light Up the Night

Luminous: Living Things That Light Up the Night

Julia Kuo. Greystone Kids, $18.95 (44p) ISBN 978-1-77164-888-2

Saturated turquoise and vermilion figures pop off velvety black and blue backgrounds in this beguiling introduction to bioluminescent creatures. As a child and adult with tan skin and dark hair walk through the inky night with a flashlight, Kuo (Let’s Do Everything and Nothing) defines light as “a kind of energy that our eyes can see.” A page turn reveals foliage filled with tiny, brilliant points of light flashing in the dark—fireflies. “But what if your body could make its own light?” the text reads, in comparatively large type that conveys the book’s through line. Sections rendered in smaller type offer technical information (“Bioluminescent creatures make the light through special chemical reactions inside their bodies”), and describe the utility of bioluminescence, which can “dazzle the deepest ocean depths,” in the case of the deep-sea anglerfish, or, like the vampire squid, “startle and distract your enemies.” Breathtaking spreads introduce foxfire, glowworms, and more as incandescent lines trace the filaments and tentacles of the sea creatures that live in the ocean depths where much bioluminescent life is found. It’s a revealing book whose visual appeal, like bioluminescence itself, lures unsuspecting readers in. Ages 4–8. (Nov.)