Book Reviews

A thoroughly gorgeous and engaging title that readers will enjoy whether they dive in headfirst or just dip their toes in

April 30, 2019

People have long been fascinated with exploring the depths of the ocean and there’s still so much we haven’t discovered. This fascinating book will take you from sunlight coral reefs to smoking deep sea vents. Welcome to the blog tour of ‘Ocean: Secrets of the Deep.’ I’m also honoured to be hosting a special Q & A with author Sabrina Weiss.

Extensive TV coverage and countless written articles have catapulted the state of the oceans firmly into the consciousness of the general public.  People are eager to find out more about the secrets they hold and what we can do to help protect them.  Recently, we’ve seen just how passionate children are about protecting our planet and its inhabitants. Luckily, there’s a growing raft of books designed to encourage their curiosity and help deepen their knowledge of the world and its habitats.

The illustrations really are the stars of this glorious large-format book. With over 200 spanning the pages, they bring sharks, turtles, and masters of disguise to life. There are also plenty of infographics bring some fascinating facts to life and really hammer home just how amazing the creatures of the deep can be.

Readers will be able to find out more about a variety of topics such as unusual fishy friendships, legends of the sea, and how our oceans are in peril. All the information is presented in an appealing combination of bite-sized facts, longer paragraphs and captions, with a very useful glossary at the end to explain some of the trickier scientific vocabulary.

A thoroughly gorgeous and engaging title that readers will enjoy whether they dive in headfirst or just dip their toes in. Great for readers aged 9+ as an independent read or younger with support.

Now for a special Q&A with Sabrina Weiss, author of OCEAN: Secrets of the Deep

What led to your interest in the ocean and its inhabitants?

I’ve always been passionate about the ocean and was very lucky to learn to scuba dive when I was 11. I have since plunged into the blue in places like the Caribbean, eastern Africa and Southeast Asia. That’s where I encountered many of the species covered in our book and when I realised how fragile our underwater world really is.

What is/are your favourite creature/s in the ocean and why?

Humpback whales never cease to amaze me. Imagine swimming alongside a 40-tonne animal that is just as curious about you. These animals are so enormous, yet, completely gentle and graceful. I love listening to the beautiful songs of the males. They learn new melodic sequences throughout their lifetime as they embark on epic migrations and meet other groups of whales en route. It’s a testament to the intelligence and social behaviour of these ocean giants.

Favourite/most surprising fact about the ocean?

Moray eels and groupers hunting together. If a grouper spots prey fish hidden in the tiny crevices of the reef, in a location impossible to reach, it might seek help from a moray eel. The moray eel, which usually hunts at night and spends the day nestled in the cracks of the reef, is able to snake its way through the rock formations and flush out the prey whilst the grouper is standing guard to block off escape routes. Like this, both partners get a meal. Social and cooperative behaviour among species is so fascinating!

What would be the one thing that everyone should do to help the oceans?

It is up to governments, industries and corporations to seriously tackle climate change, pollution and unsustainable fishing, but as individuals there are still things we can do, for instance, avoiding single-use plastics and harmful toiletries with microbeads.

Were there any challenges writing a book for younger readers, rather than adults?

Having to summarise and cut a whole chapter full of facts into a single paragraph can prove quite challenging, but we made use of the illustrations and graphics to tell the stories and to present more detail that we deemed most important and interesting.

Where/how do you write?

I always keep my notebook with me. After an exciting dive or safari, I jot down animal sightings and any ideas that come to me. The beginnings of the Ocean book emerged from my field notes. Later on, I like to write and edit the material in my favourite café near my home in north London. 

And finally…. what is your favourite snack or drink to fuel your writing?!

Monmouth coffee is my absolute favourite, it’s my rocket fuel. 

Follow Sabrina on twitter @sabrinamweiss and Giulia @giulia_de_amicis

Find out more at www.whatonearthbooks.com


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