The Science of Surfing: A Surfside Girls Guide to the Ocean

Top Shelf. (Surfside Girls: Bk. 3). Jul. 2021. 112p. pap. $9.99. ISBN 9781603094948.
Gr 4-6–California wave riders Sam and Jade move from solving ghostly mysteries in two earlier series outings to investigating real-world phenomena, including the physics of tides and waves, techniques of longboard and shortboard surfing, sea bird behavior and anatomy, kelp forest ecology, and ways of being a “good steward” of beaches, oceans, and marine wildlife. Their presentations go deep enough to include, for instance, several finely detailed animal skeletons and the mathematical formula for determining wavelength. The STEM-centric content is awash in banter, jokes (“Why did the chicken cross the ocean?” “To get to the other tide!”), and breezy reflections and enhanced by sunny cartoon panels and free-standing illustrations in which the two lanky young lecturers pose expressively with boards or precisely drawn biological specimens in sandy littoral settings. Lit up by Dwinell’s unforced enthusiasm for her topic, this graphic dive into the science of sand and surf will tempt even confirmed land lubbers to catch a wave. Sam is white, while Jade is Asian.
VERDICT Likely to make a big splash with middle graders, whether they’re headed for the beach or biology class.

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