Prowling the Seas: Exploring the Hidden World of Ocean Predators
by Pamela S. Turner
Walker Books for Young Readers, $18.89
Recommended for: upper elementary students who love sharks and other sea creatures
Review copy provided by: the author
During a vacation to Wildwood Crest, NJ when I was in middle school, my family decided to go out on one of those whale watching tours. My siblings and I were pumped. We'd been going 'down the shore' our whole lives, but had only been in the shallow areas near the beach, never out in a boat on the ocean. My mom had been stung once by a jellyfish, but otherwise the contents of the Atlantic were a mystery to us. We had our cameras ready to snap shots of whales surfacing and dolphins playing in the wake of the boat. Maybe we'd even see a shark. It was going to be awesome. Except, it appears that no one told the animals of the sea that they should put on a show for us that day, and they remained hidden in the depths. All we saw were seagulls.
Most of us never get to see what goes on under the surface of the ocean. The happenings of the sea are but a mystery. But we know that there's a whole world down there, just waiting to be explored, and Turner's book provides a glimpse into the lives of a few species in the Pacific Ocean. In Prowling the Seas: Exploring the Hidden World of Ocean Predators, the reader follows several creatures, including a leatherback sea turtle, a bluefin tuna, a (great) white shark, and a sooty shearwater, as they travel around the ocean. To keep track of their whereabouts, the scientists of the TOPP (Tagging of Pacific Predators) project attach and/or imbed high-tech tags which communicate with satellites. These tags are able to tell stories about where and how fast the predators travel, shedding light on the goings-on of the deep. In the process of learning more about their travels, scientists can also learn about ways to help species like the bluefin tuna, that are at-risk from over-fishing and the leatherback sea turtles who love to eat jellyfish, but sometimes wind up choking on plastic bags that look like dinner.
Overall an informative look at the secret lives of some of the ocean's predators. A resources page at the back is an added bonus for those interested in learning more. The one thing I was hoping to see in this book but didn't was a greater focus on how being predators played into where they traveled, and how they captured their prey. A little 'action' on top of the information. Of course, the book is designed for children, so I suppose some of that information might just be downright frightening. The 'Great Turtle Race' will have to be action enough.
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