Clownfish Aren’t So Funny: Fascinating Facts about Some of the Ocean’s Most Misunderstood Creatures

Sterling. (Misunderstood Creatures: Bk. 3). May 2019. 32p. index. Tr $12.95. ISBN 9781454923800.
K-Gr 4–An introduction describes life in tropical oceans and the small, often unseen animals that live in coral reefs, sea-grass, and the seafloor. Who knew that more than nine million species live in these ecosystems? Each page has a large color photo of a specific ocean animal. A large “fact box” describes the animals’ traits, its unusual name, and fun facts. Fortunately, or unfortunately, the author has decided to focus on the unusual names of many of these creatures and then creates plays on words. For example, the fact box on Emperor Shrimp focuses on the word emperor and then proceeds to explain how the shrimp is not royal. The damselfish page opens with “a name like damselfish, these fish sit around all day trying to look pretty.” These extraneous comments are distracting and, in the case of the damselfish, could be interpreted as gender-biased. While the author might be trying to attract readers’ interest with wordplay, it often falls flat. For readers who enjoy looking at great photos, especially of unusual looking and behaving animals, this is a wonderful title. However, some readers might find the name wordplay off-putting; a few of them border on questionable. On a positive note, the author/photographer is an experienced ocean photographer and diver, and the photos will certainly grab readers.
VERDICT A nice browsing title for your animal lovers

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