Books of the Ocean, One Accurate and One Not

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Proper preparation for deep-sea research requires a great deal of equipment, which can cost hundreds of thousands of money. Happily, due to government ignorance and the treachery of accountants worldwide, most equipment can be written off at tax time…”

As April approaches and I prep my taxes, I am thankful for this information. Those things deductible? Sombreros, crutches, massages, air tanks, wire cutters, gas to get to the ocean, etc. Those things not deductible? Robes, sunscreen, plastic ficus, bolo tie, etc.

The humor continues is Volume 3 (No. 164 of 307) of Haggis-On-Whey’s World of Unbelievable Brilliance: Animals of the Ocean, In Particular the Giant Squid. Nothing in this book is true, or comes remotely close to it, and that is why it is so funny. The book contains useful sections including:

  • Am I Being Eaten? that allows you to assess your current situation
  • Duties of Squid Appendages, polishing, word processing, tickle machine
  • Types of Dumb Dolphins
  • The Proper Way to Address Each Animal of The Ocean, “The pleasure is mine and you can’t have any of my pleasure”

These extremely funny (gut busting, tear to your eye) sections comprise half of the book. There interceded with other sections which are campy and stream of consciousness. Ultimately they fall short of the goal because the writer is trying to hard to be funny.

That being said…you should definitely buy this book if your an adult. The funny sections and wonderful illustrations/artwork that permeate the book are exceptional. The cover is also extremeley luxurious with gold embossed binding on wonderful olive cover. I agree with Katherine that it may be inappropriate for children. Did you know that more than 50% of a squids daily diet is pie? Maybe I am part squid.

For an accurate book, try The Deep-Sea Floor by Collard. I can’t talk up this book enough. The illustrations by Wenzel are exceptional. Many I would consider including in talks to illustrate vital points. The book provides many details without being heavy and covers biology, geology, and technology. The language is direct and clear. I am amazed that a book of merely 29 pages can pack so much information in. With all this talk about its content, one might wonder about whether the book is entertaining? If your child has no interest in science or the oceans, I think this book would likely capture their attention. The book is by Charlesbridge which also contains several other wonderful titles such as the Sir Cumference series.

Dr. M (1801 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Executive Director of the Lousiana University Marine Consortium. He has conducted deep-sea research for 20 years and published over 50 papers in the area. He has participated in and led dozens of oceanographic expeditions taken him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. Craig’s research focuses on how energy drives the biology of marine invertebrates from individuals to ecosystems, specifically, seeking to uncover how organisms are adapted to different levels of carbon availability, i.e. food, and how this determines the kinds and number of species in different parts of the oceans. Additionally, Craig is obsessed with the size of things. Sometimes this translated into actually scientific research. Craig’s research has been featured on National Public Radio, Discovery Channel, Fox News, National Geographic and ABC News. In addition to his scientific research, Craig also advocates the need for scientists to connect with the public and is the founder and chief editor of the acclaimed Deep-Sea News (http://deepseanews.com/), a popular ocean-themed blog that has won numerous awards. His writing has been featured in Cosmos, Science Illustrated, American Scientist, Wired, Mental Floss, and the Open Lab: The Best Science Writing on the Web.