Friday, September 24, 2021

Aliens! Becoming a Jellyfish by Grace Hansen

You don't have to rocket to outer space (or even visit Roswell, New Mexico) to see alien creatures. Take a trip to your nearest aquarium or just pack your swimsuit and goggles and snorkel around in some ocean shallows and you may see that truly outlandish but numerous sea alien, the common and uncommon jellyfish.

About as different from the human form as a creature can be, these transparent, sometimes colored, sometimes almost as clear as glass, tentacled creatures equipped with weapons that can zap are fascinating forms of sealife. Beginning as eggs, they hatch as larva and float free in the sea until they find a suitable rock or similar surface on which to attach and turn into colorless polyps, mostly invisible, to grow and combine with others to form a column of strobila, looking like a stack of open colored umbrellas, which gradually break loose and float off solo.

THE POLYP IS NOW AN EPHYRA, AN IMMATURE JELLYFISH.

It floats free in the sea as it grows.

AT LAST IT BECOMES A MATURE JELLYFISH....

IT MOVES BY PUSHING WATER OUT OF ITS BODY. IT EATS PLANTS, FISH, AND EVEN CRABS!

It's a fascinating group of weird and sometimes surprisingly lovely sea creatures that can pack quite a zap, depending on how we interact with them, as described in Grace Hansen's Becoming a Jellyfish (Changing Animals) (Abdo Publishing). One of the standouts in the publisher's Changing Animals series, this one provides stunning full-page color photographs on almost all pages and minimal "just the facts" information about this amazing alien life form among us. The author also offers backmatter than includes More Facts and Glossary. Minimal descriptive text and eye-catching photographs that extend the text make this one great for building the knowledge base for preschoolers and references for classroom units and assignments in the primary grades.

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