Bang, Molly and Penny Chisholm. 2012. OCEAN SUNLIGHT. Ill. by Molly Bang. New York: Scholastic. ISBN 9780545273220 [Suggested Grade Levels 3- 6]
The role of phytoplankton and its far-reaching food production on a massive scale to support the marine ecosystem is the topic of this beautifully illustrated picture book. It presents a difficult topic with clarity and precise text to sequentially reveal how these tiny plants capture enough sunlight to produce food that is the very source of all food energy in the sea.
Molly Bang’s illustrations provide additional clarity to the information and evoke a lively spirit in the ocean food-production process. She uses a number of inset pictures to illustrate processes like budding and bioluminescence. The colors on the pages reflect the changes from the brilliance of the sun to the deepest ocean depths as it moves from bright yellows and greens of the plants and ocean water to the blackness of the sea floor.
Tracing the relationship of the sun and microscopic ocean plants and its cyclical nature of renewal makes the book a fascinating read while providing a high-quality informational text. It doesn’t read like a textbook at all; rather, it provides the best explanation of the subject for this age.
Have the children create a visual that will show the relationship of the sun’s energy, the phytoplankton, the organisms that consume it, and the upwelling currents that returns the nutrient-rich marine snow to support the original food producers.
Other books for children about ocean ecosystems:
Hynes, Margaret. OCEANS AND SEAS. ISBN 9780753468630
Parker, Steve. DISCOVER MORE: OCEAN AND SEA. ISBN 978-0545330220
By Shirley Duke