The Forest in the Sea: Seaweed Solutions to Planetary Problems

­Holiday House. (Books for a Better Earth). Feb. 2023. 96p. Tr $22.99. ISBN 9780823450138.
Gr 3-6–Wet, slimy seaweed, one of the oldest life forms on Earth, could be one of the keys to saving the planet, according to this slim but enlightening text. The saltwater algae provides food and shelter for countless living things and produces more oxygen than all the planet’s land forests put together. Readers are introduced to different types of seaweed forests from all over Earth, each one integral to the world’s survival. Almost half of the oxygen in Earth’s atmosphere comes from oceanic phytoplankton. They are even responsible for removing carbon dioxide, one of the main pollutants causing the worst effects of climate change, from the atmosphere. The friendly, accessible text will give tweens the feeling that they’re being taught by their cool biology teacher. Kids will encounter terms like aquaculture and discover the effects of farting cows and defecating whales on the environment. The dynamic design features jaw-dropping photos, catchy chapter headings, and lots of white space. Informative, brightly colored sidebars are integrated well onto the page and offer close-ups of all kinds of seaweed. Back matter includes a glossary, time lines, bibliography, source notes, and suggestions for how young people can help seaweed flourish, thereby helping to stem climate change.
VERDICT A fascinating work about the importance of a seemingly simple life form with a gigantic impact, this is a strong choice for middle grade collections.

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