Although the southernmost continent is covered with ice all year round, wildlife still thrives in Antarctica—but the ecosystem there is threatened.
Batten worked with the Cousteau Society campaign against mineral exploitation in Antarctica in 1990. Her continued fascination with this relatively mysterious world, which has no permanent human population, is evident in her depiction of the life that does thrive there. Her descriptions are clear, concise, and interesting, whether she’s discussing forests of kelp, pastures of phytoplankton, and swarms of krill; the fish, whales, penguins, and seals at the top of the food chain; or the underwater invertebrates who live long and often grow to gigantic proportions. Her text is relatively substantial for a picture book, and it’s set against a backdrop of gorgeous Antarctic scenes created by Gonzalez using pastel, colored pencils, and airbrush. The animals are recognizable; the scenery is magnificent. After presenting the resident wildlife, the author introduces humans—scientists taking advantage of Antarctica’s protected status and sunlit summers for research of all kinds, including studying the effects of Earth’s changing climate. She describes the changes on the plant and animal life and the loss of sea ice, which also threatens the rest of the world. “Scientists estimate the melting of Antarctica’s land ice will lead to a rise in sea level of between 3 and 16 inches…by 2100.”
Sobering news in a handsome package.
(map, further facts, author’s note, glossary, acknowledgments, selected bibliography)
Pub Date: today
Page Count: 40
Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2020
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020