January 3, 2012
Coral Reefs by Jason Chin
In my opinion, one of the best picture book nonfiction authors around is Jason Chin. Jason combines easy to understand descriptions of various ecosystems with amazingly detailed water color paintings to produce his books. My favorite so far is Coral Reefs.
Our narrator pulls a book on coral reefs off the library shelf. As she wonders through the library and reads, coral crops up first on table tops and book cases but soon it is creeping up the walls. Before long, the water has gushed in and filled the library and the young reader is now swimming amid the animals that populate the reef.
It sounds fanastical, and the frame for Chin’s story is in that it isn’t strictly nonfiction. But his painting are so realistic that I am confident that if I can’t tell a grouper from a grunt that the fault is my own.
Chin discusses both predators and prey so the book is realistic but it isn’t so intense that it would frighten most young readers.
The perfect book for an introduction to marine ecosystems or to share with the fish loving young reader in your own life. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself gazing at the paintings and forgetting to read the text.
It happens, after all, to the best of us.
Just pick up this book and enjoy!