April 11, 2013
Giant Squid: Searching for a Sea Monster by Mary M. Cerullo and Clyde F. E. Roper
Searching for a Sea Monster
by Mary M. Cerullo and Clyde F. E. Roper
It isn’t much of a stretch to call the giant squid a sea monster. With lengthy tentacles, suckers lined with tiny teeth and a hooked beak, they seem to be the stuff of nightmares. That’s probably why sailors told so many stories about them attacking ships and pulling men into a watery grave.
For years, the primary evidence for giant squids were the circular scars on the heads and jaws of 70-ton sperm whales. At first, people assumed they were the result of squid attacks on whales. But then whalers harvesting ambergris from the stomachs of sperm whales found something surprising inside the ambergris — the beaks from giant squid. Ambergris formed a protective coating around the beaks so that they wouldn’t harm the whale before being passed from (aka pooped out of) the whale’s system. A beak in a whale’s belly pretty well told the story of a lost fight for the squid. Eventually whalers realized that the whales were feeding on the squid just like people eating calamari.
Clyde Roper is a scientist who studies giant squid. He has examined numerous specimen that have washed up on shore. He also studies whales knowing that if they feed on the squid, they might lead him to live squid. He’s even tried filming the squid with both unmanned and manned submarine. That said, another scientist has captured these mysterious creatures on film.
Longer than your normal picture book, this book is 48 pages long. Not your best bet for a read aloud. The back matter includes both web sites and books with more information on this hidden creature. In addition to the giant squid, there is also information on numerous other cephalopods including nautilus, octopi and other squid both shy and aggressive.
That said older grade school students and middle school students alike will latch onto this picture-filled text about a mysterious deep sea creature. This book is an excellent choice for kids who love the ocean, love aquatic animals or adore a natural mystery (think Big Foot of the Sea!).