Saturday, August 01, 2020

Sea Turtle Time: On Kiki's Reef by Carol L. Malnar

A baby green sea turtle pops her head out of the sand. It's Kiki!

She just hatched. With the crowd of hatchlings, Kiki scrambles across the beach. Birds swoop to peck her. Crabs grab!

Surf and spray carry Kiki away.

It's the race of her life for the tiny sea turtle. When Kiki makes it into the waves, she feels safe.
Kiki paddles helter skelter.
Beds of seaweed give her shelter.

Out into the deeps the little sea turtle goes and grows bigger and stronger. But in a few years, she is drawn back toward the shore to the coral reefs. She is kept company by clownfish, who hides unhurt by the stinging corals. She makes use of a gang of tangs who give her a spa treatment, cleaning the algae from her shell. She's too big to fear the barracuda now, but she watches as a school of wrasses give him a dental cleaning. She hides when a tiger shark cruises back and forth, and she visits with seahorses, parrotfish, an octopus reaching for snacks, and even a snorkeling diver. Kiki grows and grows.
Then one day Kiki knows it's time to return to her first home--the beach. In the middle of the night Kiki lays her 100 eggs and covers them lovingly.

Along the coast and through the foam,
Kiki returns to her reef home.

Carol L. Malnar's On Kiki's Reef is an up-close and personal look at the life cycle of a green sea turtle which takes the young reader into reef life-- one which perhaps wakes a yearning to visit the coral reef exhibit at an aquarium or to snorkel above a real reef themselves. Trina Hunner's beautiful color illustrations done in sea greens and blues give young nature students a feeling of actually being there, while author Malnar provides a flowing text, with touches of rhyme and an extensive appendix, including thumbnails and descriptions of "Featured Creatures" and "Illustrious Additions," teaching tips, and maps. A good book for individual browsing or for informational reading where "ocean life" is a class study in the curriculum. Says Kirkus Review, "What distinguishes this simple introduction is its breadth and accuracy. Readers and listeners will come away with an appreciation for the complexity and interdependence of the coral reef world. Kiki's reef is the place to be."

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