May 10 – Mother Ocean Day

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-at-the-sea-floor-cafe

About the Holiday

The brain child of the South Florida Kayak Fishing Club and enacted in 2013, Mother Ocean Day promotes awareness of the beauty and wonder of the world’s oceans. Teeming with rare and surprising creatures and plants, the ocean remains one of Earth’s most amazing mysteries. Today, take time to enjoy all the ocean has to offer—go to the beach and walk, snorkel, swim, or fish—or if you’re more of a landlubber read a book about our Mother Ocean.

At the Sea Floor Café: Odd Ocean Critter Poems

Written by Leslie Bulion | Illustrated by Leslie Evans

 

With a jaunty exhortation to “Dive In!” Leslie Bulion invites readers to “…visit a habitat shallow and deep. / and boiling hot, where acids seep, / and frigid and pressured and mountainy-steep, / Come explore the sea! Seventeen species of “odd critters, enormous and tiny…hunters and foragers, hiders and peekers” are described in clever, informative verse.

The Coconut Octopus is a wily creature: “This octopus walks backwards on two arms, / And wraps the other six around its top. / It ambles free of predatory harms, / And thus avoids becoming shark-chewed slop.” The symbiotic relationship between the Leopard Sea Cucumber and the Emperor Shrimp is told in alternating lines of blue and red.

“I inch along.”

“We hitch a ride. / We tour the seafloor country side.”

“I’m ship,”

We’re crew. / We swab the decks / By eating scummy algae specks.”

I’m camouflaged / in leopard spots.

While not the swiftest / Of the yachts, / A top-notch spot to meet a mate.”

When threatened I eviscerate.

To spew my guts / Is quite a chore, / And it takes weeks / To grow some more. / But I keep predators away.

We live to crew / Another day.

The unexplained habit of the convict fish, which “eats” its young every night just to spit them out again, is described in “Fish Food,” and readers can dig their teeth into another meal-related relationship between the reef shark and the cleaner wrasse in “Healthy Eating.” In “Dental Health” readers learn that narwhal’s tusks are much more than defense mechanisms. Instead, each tooth “contains ten million nerves to sense / environmental evidence.” And what’s more—“…when we see them crossing spars / and jousting underneath the stars, / one’s tusk above and one’s beneath, / it’s not a fight; their brushing teeth.”

“Crabby Camouflage” has never been so elaborate or decorative as that concocted by the jeweled anemone crab, and “Dolphin Fashion” reveals an ingenious way to protect a tender snout: “A bottlenose counseled her daughter: / Put this sponge on your beak underwater. / You can scare out more fish, / Poke sharp stones as you wish, / And your skin’ll stay smooth like it oughter.”

Snapping shrimp, epaulette sharks, the violet snail, sea spiders, krill, the broody squid, sipohonophores, erenna, larvaceans, osedax, and the remotely operated vehicles that give us a view of the ocean floor are also celebrated in this fun poetry collection.

Each poem is followed by scientific information about the subject of the verse.

Leslie Bulion piques readers’ interest in these fascinating ocean creatures with her smart, witty rhymes that reveal little-known facts.

Leslie Evans, with her printmaker’s eye, illustrates the deep blue pages with stylized depictions of the fish and animals that populate the sea, allowing readers to visualize the quirks and adaptations written about.

Ages 6 and up

Peachtree Publishers, 2011 | ISBN 978-1561455652

Gardening for Wildlife Month Activity

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-flower-vase

Spoon Flowers

The rounded scoop and long “stem” of plastic ice-cream spoons make a perfect base for pretty wildflowers. You can use the printable petal template or make petals of your own design to fill your vase with color

Supplies

  • Printable Petal Template
  • 3 – 4 plastic ice-cream spoons, these are available in different colors at party supply stores or you can paint them the color you’d like
  • Multi-purpose paint in colors of your choice, if you are painting the spoons
  • Heavy craft paper in your favorite flower colors
  • Green ribbon
  • Ribbon, hairbands, weaving loom bands, or colored wire
  • Glue gun or strong glue
  • Paintbrush 
  • Scissors
  • Beans, sand, pebbles, or glass or plastic beads to fill the vase

Directions

  1. Print or trace the petals onto colored paper. The number of petals you need for each flower will depend on the size of the spoon
  2. Cut out the petals
  3. With the glue gun or strong glue, attach the petals to the spoon, gluing the end of the petals around the inside edge of the spoon, Let dry
  4. Wrap the handle of the spoon with the green ribbon and glue in place
  5. Fill the vase ¾ full with beans, sand, pebbles, or beads
  6. Decorate the rim of the bottle with the ribbon, bands, or wire
  7. Push the flower stems into the vase and arrange

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