ONE IGUANA, TWO IGUANAS
The Galapagos Islands is the setting for this new addition to the How Nature Works Series from Tilbury House Publishers. It’s a fascinating account of how both a land iguana and one able to dive into the sea came to live in this remotes set of islands far off the western shore of South America.
Beautiful and often stunning pictures fit in well with the text. Although the author speaks to some pretty heavy scientific topics, the writing is smooth and understandable. Learn about natural selection and how species adapt over time. The work of Charles Darwin in this part of the world is also explored.
Great for the classroom or home, I wouldn’t hesitate to add this to every middle grade child’s bookshelf.
THE OFFICIAL WORD
Natural selection and speciation are all but ignored in children’s nonfiction. To help address this glaring deficiency, award-winning children’s science writer Sneed Collard traveled to the Galapagos Islands to see for himself, where Charles Darwin saw, how new species form. The result is this fascinating story of two species of iguana, one land-based and one marine, both of which developed from a single ancestor that reached the islands millions of years ago. The animals evolved in different directions while living within sight of one another. How is that possible?
DON’T MESS WITH ME
Future oceanographers won’t be able to get enough of the over two dozen underwater creatures. You’ll learn the difference between poisonous and venomous but the fun is the information about these unique ocean dwellers.
On the cover is the ominous Stargazer Fish. Protection is provided with a pair of venomous spines, one on each side of its body. I hope to never step on this little guy.
Inside the pages you get colorful pictures of all the other scary and often deadly creatures. Each is accompanied by a summary of its characteristics. My favorites were the Bearded Fireworm, Chinese Dragon Sea Slug, and the Palette Surgeonfish.
A handy recap of all the venomous species is presented in the final pages. There’s also a glossary, along with books and online sources giving every ocean loving kid the perfect place to begin their studies.
THE OFFICIAL WORD
Why are toxins so advantageous to their possessors as to evolve over and over again? What is it about watery environments that favors so many venomous creatures? Marine biologist Paul Erickson explores these and other questions with astounding images from Andrew Martinez and other top underwater photographers.
GREAT for teaching STEM Marine Biology.
Scorpions and brown recluse spiders are fine as far as they go, but if you want daily contact with venomous creatures, the ocean is the place to be. Blue-ringed octopi, stony corals, sea jellies, stonefish, lionfish, poison-fanged blennies, stingrays, cone snails, blind remipedes, fire urchins―you can choose your poison in the ocean. Venoms are often but not always defensive weapons. The banded sea krait, an aquatic snake, wriggles into undersea caves to prey on vicious moray eels, killing them with one of the world’s most deadly neurotoxins, which it injects through fangs that resemble hypodermic needles. The Komodo dragon, an ocean-going reptile, tears into a water buffalo with its blade-like teeth, then secretes a deadly toxin into the open wounds.