Lilley, Matt

Good Eating: The Short Life of Krill

(2) K-3 Illustrated by Dan Tavis. An omniscient narrator notices a small egg at the surface of the Southern Ocean. Using direct address, the narrator speaks to the egg as it floats downward and changes ("you're not an egg anymore") into a six-armed oval, or, as a small label informs readers, a nauplius. Now the creature reverses direction and swims toward the surface, adding legs and a shell, which it molts. For about four weeks, it continues this two-mile upward journey, complete with more alterations (such as forming a mouth, stomach, and eyes) and more molting. Finally, a mature krill emerges, eating and growing and molting some more. The narrator continues commenting on the crustacean, pointing out its bioluminescence, its changing color as it eats small plants, and the millions of like creatures it joins. The slightly cartoonish illustrations of goggle-eyed krill complement the light tone of the text but never distract from the scientific fact that krill are the keystone species of Earth's southernmost ocean. Illustrations show swarms of krill eating algae and phytoplankton only to, in turn, be devoured by seabirds, penguins, and whales. The narrator drolly comments: "Krill are really good at eating and krill are really good eatin'." Back matter includes additional facts about krill; recommended books and online content (including a computer game) encourage readers to learn more.


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