Book Reviews

An insight into every aspect of ocean life in a visually stunning and informative way

May 01, 2019

Ocean: Secrets of the Deep offers the reader an insight into every aspect of ocean life in a visually stunning and informative way. From ocean environments to species evolution and from threatened ecosystems to ocean exploration, information is presented in an exciting and attractive way. There are some subjects included that you may not normally expect to find in a book like this including fascinating facts about animal behaviour and a section on legends of the sea. The breadth of subjects covered is impressive and each one is done brilliantly.

A particularly impressive and relevant section is ‘Oceans in Peril’ and features the ‘plastic soup’ page which explains how plastic is affecting ocean life in different ways. There are also details of how you, the reader, can make a positive difference to the oceans. A very topical issue which many children feel strongly about, this book handles the subject in a clear, informative way.

The infographics throughout the book are bright and appealing, offering the reader bitesize chunks of information. These bursts of information are beautifully illustrated and very effectively presented, using comparisons to make the sometimes mind-blowing statistics more accessible.

This book would complement any topic about the natural world, not just oceans. In fact it is a fantastic reference book to have in the classroom regardless of topics. A book you can dip in and out of and learn so much from, I would definitely recommend Oceans: Secrets of the Deep to anyone working in Key Stage 2. The publishers claim that this book is ideal for any child curious about our blue planet and how to protect it and I would wholeheartedly agree with that. A beautiful book.

Guest Post

by Sabrina Weiss , author of Ocean: Secrets of the Deep


Giulia De Amicis and Sabrina Weiss in front of the Durdle Door in Dorset

“Did you know that groupers partner up with moray eels to hunt?”, says Giulia as we’re gazing over the Durdle Door on the UK’s famed Jurassic Coast.

I’ve been in love with the ocean my whole life and have been snorkelling and scuba diving from an early age. Plunging beneath the waves in places like the Caribbean, Eastern Africa and Southeast Asia, I have often encountered groupers and moray eels, but this cooperative hunting behaviour was a surprise to me.

Moray eels usually hunt at night and spend the day nestled in the cracks of the reef with only their heads sticking out. They will make an exception and leave their shelter if a special friend, a grouper, swims by and asks for a favour. The grouper may have spotted prey fish hiding in the tiny crevices of the reef, in a location impossible to reach. The moray eel, however, 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. This way, both partners get a meal.

Giulia and I were enjoying an Easter getaway in Dorset and began collating exciting animal and plant facts for our Ocean book. We both had our favourite species and habitats, which were certainly going to feature in these pages: from ocean giants to tiny camouflaged seahorses or from kelp forests to polar seas, we were bubbling over with ideas as we chatted about our personal underwater encounters and soon realised that one book on its own couldn’t contain all of our ideas, let alone our excitement. The best part about these brainstorming sessions was learning about species and behaviours I had never heard of before. Growing up, I loved leafing through marine guide books and reading about unusual animal behaviour. To then lay eyes on these species during my dives was like seeing a fantasy world come to life right in front of me. There was so much to discover and write about in the making of this book. The result: more than 100 species of animal and plant are featured in many more colourful illustrations. Our ocean will never cease to amaze and inspire me.

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