Sea Otter Heroes: The Predators That Saved an Ecosystem by Patricia Newman is a nonfiction children’s book, which has an interesting story to tell. The ecosystem of California’s Elkhorn Slough showed some abnormalities. The seagrass was unusually healthy, considering the pollution that drained into the slough. As marine biologist Brent Hughes investigated, he found complex relationships among various plant and animal species in the region, including sea otters. Sea Otter Heroes emphasizes the scientific methodology involved in Hughes’s work, and thoroughly explains the connections between the biota under study. The sea otters are important players in the story, but they are not the primary focus suggested by the title.
Featuring an extremely cute sea otter on the cover, this upper elementary read documents the biologists process, describes the problem and lets the reader see for themselves the results. There’s even a “do it yourself ecosystem mini experiment” at the back of the book for budding environmentalists (involving spiders and crickets and grasshoppers). A superb example of the scientific process in action. Pages are full of captioned photographs, sidebars, charts, and graphs. Also includes tips to protect the environment, source notes, index, a glossary and bibliography, plus a list of books and website sources to find out more.
The book is not for young children as there is a lot of text and detail, but certainly middlegrade students studying ecosystems would get a lot out of this book. The photographs add so much to the book and make it easier to understand.
I received this ARC from Lerner Publishing Group and Hillbrook Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.