Heather Montgomery is at it again – making the study of animals a lot of fun. Her new book Little Monsters of the Ocean: Metamorphosis Under the Waves relates to the idea of metamorphosis that children will already have in the life cycle of the butterfly and takes them under the ocean to other animals from minute to large sea animals that undergo the process.
This experienced science educator and author knows how to prompt the interest of children with the unusual, like the mosquito larva that hangs below the water and breathes through a snorkel that sticks out of his tail. Then she gets into eating habits – the hermit crab eating her old exoskeleton, the jellyfish polyp that can live up to three years without food, or the zombie worm that feeds on dead whalebones.
With a wealth of interesting scientific information in her book, Heather also compares things we know with things we don’t know and explores the meaning and usefulness of a scientific hypothesis. Other learning bonuses in the book are the intriguing photographs of her subjects, a chart of life cycles, and a glossary. All of this is infused with Heather’s delightful kid-friendly sense of humor. This book makes a nice companion to her previous book that I reviewed, Something Rotten: A Fresh Look at Roadkill.
My recommendation would be not to let kids have this fun all by themselves. This book lends itself to reading aloud together whether a teacher uses it with a classroom or a significant adult sits and reads it with a child on the couch sharing a cozy afghan. Just be sure to allow time for the discussions that will be inevitable!