Review: ‘Wild Ocean’
Wild Ocean: Sharks, Whales, Rays, and Other Endangered Sea Creatures
Edited by Matt Dembicki
Fulcrum Publishing, $19.95
Age Range: 12 and up
This anthology was produced with PangeaSeed, an ocean conservation organization, so it’s got an obvious message—”to showcase 12 iconic endangered ocean animals” in order to encourage changes in human behavior when it comes to pollution and overfishing—but the following 12 stories are inspiring, all the same.
- “Tortuga, the Island That Swims” by Jay Hosler, about a hawksbill sea turtle’s life cycle and the other creatures that live on its shell
- “The Galapagos” by Matt Dembicki, about trying to protect a sanctuary from poachers hunting hammerhead sharks
- “The Rime of the Modern Mariner” by Andy K., about the poetic inspiration of the albatross
- “The Shape of the Future” by Michael Cowgill and Tom Williams, about how manta rays led to engineering innovation
- “Hawaiian Blues” by Dove McHargue, about a blue whale toy given to a child
- “Seeking Shelter From the Storm” by Tammy Stellanova, about wordlessly following a monk seal feeding and giving birth
- “Butanding” by Pierce Hargan, about a lost fisherman, a legend, and whale sharks
- “Poseidon’s Steed” by Steve Loya, about the myth and symbolism of the seahorse
- “Raw Power” by JF Frankel, about how the demand for sushi has decimated the bluefin tuna
- “Atolls of the Maldives” by Kevin Panetta and Paulina Ganucheau, about a saddle butterflyfish visiting a coral reef
- “The Lady of the Sea” by Pat N. Lewis, about an ancient manatee
- “The Legend of T. Gigas!” by Brooke A. Allen, about the life of a giant clam
Each is introduced with a text page about the animal’s place in the ocean ecology and threats to its survival. The stories provide a gamut of approaches, from the humorous monologue of the turtle that opens the book to dramatic non-fiction presentations, in a range of art styles that in their variety, mimic the gamut of the subject matter. An end section includes photos of the actual creatures, references for more reading, and creator bios.
The different story types keep the material interesting, whether the reader is more involved with focusing on the sea creatures or the humans interacting with them. How people affect the environment, and vice versa, is never far from the reader’s mind as they work through these good, worthwhile stories. Education has never been so lovely or so immersive.
Johanna Draper Carlson has been reviewing comics for over 20 years. She manages ComicsWorthReading.com, the longest-running independent review site online that covers all genres of comic books, graphic novels, and manga. She has an MA in popular culture, studying online fandom, and was previously, among many other things, webmaster for DC Comics. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin.
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