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ATLANTIC by G. Brian Karas


by G. Brian Karas & illustrated by G. Brian Karas

Pub Date: April 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-399-23632-5
Publisher: Putnam

Descriptions of the water and overviews of natural processes combine to make this a unique presentation of the story of the Atlantic Ocean. Readers learn that the Atlantic is not only the mist, salty smell, and sound of the waves, but also the icebergs up north, and the sand that the water constantly wears away and carries somewhere else. Stretching from pole to pole and washing four continents, the Atlantic has been “crossed and probed, charted, studied, dirtied.” It’s also been fished, painted, and written of by poets. Throughout the free-verse text, the author introduces the vocabulary of the ocean—ebb and flood, bay, inlet, continent, charted, oyster beds, longlines, while he skims over various natural processes, such as the ebb and flood of the tides, erosion, and the water cycle. Sparse punctuation sometimes makes the text difficult to follow, but Karas’s (7 x 9 = Trouble, p. 341, etc.) word choices more than make up for this flaw—the “rattle and clatter” of the pebbles in the waves, “heaving, raging,” and “slosh” of the water. Gouache, acrylic, and colored-pencil drawings full of oceany blues and greens complement the text and illustrate the concepts presented. Karas ends with a fact page, “Some Things About Me,” which details the age, size, currents, and growth of the Atlantic. With its broad presentation, this would make an excellent beginning to an elementary-school unit on oceans. A lovely departure for the artist whose work usually makes readers laugh out loud. (Picture book. 4-8)