Kid Review: Good Eating: The Short Life of Krill By Matt Lilley


About This Book:


To my delight, your average krill is a far stranger story of metamorphosis than anything our butterflies can come up with.” – Elizabeth Bird, A Fuse 8 Production
A fun exploration of a tiny animal at the base of the ocean food chain
Just 2 inches long full-grown, this little guy is the foundation of the Southern Ocean food chain… “Hi. What are you? You appear to be an egg. You are an egg sinking. For many days, you sink. You sink a mile down, and you keep sinking down… down… until…” 

The unidentified narrator follows one krill among billions as it pursues its brief existence, eating and eating while metamorphosing from one thing into another and trying to avoid being eaten. Questions and advice are hurled at the krill on every page, but the krill never responds―because, after all, krill can’t talk, and this is nonfiction.  Krill are the largest animals able to catch and eat phytoplankton, and they in turn are eaten by the largest animals ever to live on earth―blue whales―as well as by seals, penguins, and a host of others. In other words, krill are really good at eating, and they make really good eating. And that makes them the most important animals in the high-latitude oceans.  As in The Whale Fall Café, Dan Tavis’s illustrations combine scientific accuracy with Nemo liveliness and humor. Our star krill is so good at gobbling up phytoplankton that he turns green, so we can pick him out from the crowd racing to escape a penguin’s beak or a blue whale’s gaping maw. The book has been reviewed and endorsed by global krill expert Dr. Stephen Nichol, and the manuscript earned an honorable mention in Minnesota’s McKnight Artist Fellowships for Writers. Helpful backmatter is included.

*Review Contributed By Karen Yingling, Staff Reviewer*


The KRILL of it All


While I had a vague sense about what krill were, I hadn’t really thought about what an important part they play in the ecosystem. Lilley starts from the beginning of a krill’s life cycle, and follows as one small egg sinks to the bottom of the ocean, starts to develop, and goes through the various stages to become a small ocean creature. Krill eat a LOT, and we see how krill turn green when they eat a lot of plant material. They continue to grow and eat even more, and come into contact with a variety of ocean creatures. Of course, it soon becomes apparent that krill are going to be eaten themselves, but the particular one we are following manages to escape the whale at the end and can keep up his gobbling ways for a little while longer.
Good Points
There is a lot of humor to go along with the scientific language; we see what krill look like during the phases of their development, and the names are those phases appear in the corner of the pages complete with pronunciation. This makes it great for a classroom read aloud, because the text addresses one krill as “you” and makes the tiny, anonymous animals seem sympathetic. We follow our krill and root for its growth, but also hope that our krill won’t end up as someone else’s dinner… at least not too soon!

The illustrations are very detailed, and give a good sense for the changes the animals goes through, and also what the environment in which it lives is like. Since a lot of the krill’s life is spent underwater, many of the pages have backgrounds in dark colors, with text in white or beige. The illustrations make good use of the entire spread, with some fun borders showing sea vegetation or other details.

There have been a lot of picture books about animals, and Good Eating can share the table with Moore’s Buzz, Croak, Hiss and Hoot, Alexander’s Anglerfish: The Seadevil of the Deep, Boxer’s One Turtle’s Last Straw: The Real-Life Rescue That Sparked a Sea Change. There have also been a number of books about the ecology of the ocean, like Giuliani’s At the Sea, Young’s Antartica, and Mihaly’s Water: A Deep Dive of Discovery. It’s good to see more informational text for young readers, especially when they have fantastic end papers– this one has two solid pages of tiny krill that made me think that maybe one of them was wearing a striped shirt like Waldo!

*Find More Info & Buy This Book Here*