ocean sunlight

Ocean Sunlight: How Tiny Plants Feed the Seas by Molly Bang and Penny Chisholm

Following her Living Sunlight book, this continues the story of how the sun makes life on earth possible.  Here, the focus is on the ocean and the role that sunlight plays even in the darkest depths of the sea.  The story starts with photosynthesis and food chains on dry land, then moves to the water.  Bang asks where the green plants in the ocean are except for the seaweed.  Then she shows the tiny phytoplankton that make up the plants of the sea.  The food chain is shown and the book then turns to the darkness of the deep and how the food chain works even in blackness.  It is beautiful science. 

Bang successfully combines poetry and science in this enticing picture book. Her tone is inviting, inquisitive and filled with wonder at the amazing things that happen due to our sun.  The book is written from the point of view of the sun itself and how its energy reaches everywhere on earth.  It is a celebration of the sun and of the oceans themselves too.

Chisholm’s art ranges from the glow of the yellow sun to the black deep of the ocean.  Everywhere, even in the darkness, you can see the energy of the sun.  When the phytoplankton are displayed, Chisholm shows them up close in all of their wonderful detail.  Then the energy of the sun dances above the waves in yellow dots.  The entire book sings with energy and light.

This book is a tribute to science and nature.  It’s a readable and very understandable look at the complex systems that make our lives possible.  Appropriate for ages 5-8.

Reviewed from library copy.