Review Detail

Kids Fiction 326
Down by the sea where the wild fennel grows...
Overall rating
Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
This extremely large format (11.5"x 16") book has strikingly simple illustrations in bold colors, and a wealth of information about the beach environment. There is a big spread on the left hand side of the page giving an overview of the area where the children are underneath the few sentences describing the story of their day out. On the facing page are around six smaller boxes, delineated by color and lines, that highlight specific information about plants, animals, or the environment. Some of these have flaps that can be lifted, and more information is located on or underneath the flap.

The language is simple and direct, and gives good examples of the environmental importance of the topic being discussed. Robin and Plum interact with this information in a natural way, and their trip to the beach and then to the island is a pleasant framework for the multitude of important facts about the coastal climate and its impact on the world at large.

Readers who can't get enough about the sea and have read Fleming's A Tide Pool Waits, Nat Geo Kids At the Beach, Stahl's Save the Ocean, Lee's The Atlas of Migrating Planst and Animals, and Mihaly's Water: A Deep Dive of Discovery will enjoy this introduction to marine climates, and readers who would like a virtual visit to the shore will find this a good way to travel virtually.
Good Points
Siblings Robin and Plum have a pleasant day at the beach planned. They head there with a kite and a pail, and along the way notice all of the flora and fauna they pass, from bunny tail grass to invasive ice plants. Once they get to the beach, and see shells, pebbles, and small creatures like clams and star fish that have been uncovered by the tide. When they go further to the port, they sea ships, sail boats, and seagulls. The two then board a boat, and the captain takes them to the Island of a Thousand Birds. He also teaches them about maritime safety and traditions like captain's logs and signal flags. From the boat, they can see many sea inhabitants like jellyfish, rays, and triggerfish. Once on the island, which is a protective sanctucary for birds, they get to travel to the top of a light house and see puffins, gannets, and seals sunning themselves on the rocks. Having been able to witness all of this beautiful, natural world, they think abou tthe ways in which people can protect these resources by studying the link between oceans and the climate, analyzing plastic pollution, observing plankton, and keeping track of the numbers of threatened animals.
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