City Fish, Country Fish
Mary M. Cerullo
Photography by Jeffrey L. Rotman
Hardcover, $16.95, ISBN 978-0-88448-323-6
9 x 10, 32 pages, color photographs
Skipping Stones Honor Award, 2013
Honor Book, Science K-6
—Society of School Librarians International
"Cerullo contrasts the lives of fish in tropical waters with those of their relatives in colder ocean regions. She explores differences in coloration, feeding habits, body shape, and survival techniques between the 'city fish' that inhabit coral reefs and 'swim in water as warm as a swimming pool' and the 'country fish' that swim through large underwater territories and cool waters. She also explains characteristics that all fish share and discusses how humans study the ocean. A final spread details the need to protect this important resource. Rotman's outstanding photos illuminate the underwater world with close-up views of tiny reef dwellers and unusual cold-water inhabitants such as the goosefish. Wider shots reveal the colorful bustle of reef life and schools of cold-water fish, including bluefin tuna. Design and layout reinforce the contrasts Cerullo identifies, making this a first-rate choice for browsers as well as students interested in ocean life."
—Starred Review in School Library Journal
"The familiar contrast between city and country is used to compare the teeming, colorful and diverse world of tropical fishes with the more uniformly colored, less varied and less crowded cold-water world.
"Cerullo, who used the city metaphor in her earlier Coral Reef (1995), organizes support for this extension in double-page spreads, contrasting the fish of warmer and cooler bioregions in various ways. She goes beyond number and density to consider such factors as size and shape, coloration, cooperation and specializations. Her interesting text sometimes sits on and sometimes adjoins Rotman's striking underwater photographs. Species are identified. The perspective often reflects the viewpoint of the photographer-diver—noting, for example, the different colors of the water. A section entitled 'How Humans Can Become Fish' describes scuba diving and includes an image of the photographer's wetsuit-clad son with a giant lobster. A final section connects this underwater world to our own. Words in italics are defined in a glossary, which includes important concepts (ecosystems, symbiosis, food web, tropical vs. temperate) and more specialized vocabulary (lateral line, barbel, phytoplankton, chromatophore). The short list of suggested further reading includes more of the author's writings and not much else, a disappointment in an otherwise informative title.
"Mary Cerullo and Jeff Rotman have teamed up once again in this wondrous look into the ocean world. No matter where they might live, kids will be able to relate in fun and educational ways to fish living much like we do. Readers will return time and time again to read fun facts and enjoy the superb images of fish in their natural habitats, be they 'city' or 'country' dwellers."
—Ron Hirschi, fisheries biologist and author of more than fifty nature books for young readers, including Swimming with Humuhumu (a true city fish!)
"This unique approach to our underwater world provides a tantalizing introductory look at how fish live. Mary Cerullo's text is easy to understand, and Jeff Rotman's many photographs are impressive. The book is a worthwhile addition to any young reader's library."
—John Nuhn, Photography Director, National Wildlife
"With this fascinating book Cerullo and Rotman broaden the horizons of children while engendering a love and understanding of the sea. Their grasp of the oceans' complexity and their ability to distill and convey it to younger readers are special skills found only in talented educators. Rotman's dramatic images lure the reader, inciting curiosity and a lifetime of appreciation, seeding the next generation of conservationists and policymakers."
—Susan McElhinney, Photo Editor, Ranger Rick Magazine
Some people live in the country, close to the land, where they enjoy peace and quiet. Others live in high-rise apartments in the city and love the hustle and bustle of crowds and nonstop activity, both day and night. In the ocean, too, there are places that have some of the characteristics of "the country" or of "the city." Like the classic tale of The City Mouse and the Country Mouse, there are advantages and disadvantages to each habitat.
We'll compare how the fishes that live in tropical seas ("the city") and those that swim through cold oceans ("the country") meet the challenges and opportunities of their own ecosystems. We will examine how color, shape, and size, as well as behaviors and adaptations, help them survive in their particular habitat. We'll explore characteristics that make them different, as well as things that make them the same.
Mary Cerullo decided at thirteen that she ought to become an oceanographer. Although her career has always centered around the ocean, she discovered that she preferred exploring many different topics, which led her to teach and write about the ocean instead. She has written fourteen nonfiction books for children on ocean life. She likes to immerse herself in her topic, so a few years ago Mary accompanied Jeff on an underwater dive with ten Caribbean reef sharks. Mary's "day job" is associate director of Friends of Casco Bay, an environmental group in South Portland, Maine. For more about Mary: marymcerullo.com
Jeff Rotman started photographing ocean animals as a way to capture the attention of his middle-school students. As a reward when they finished their assignments, he would show them the slides he had taken underwater. He eventually gave up teaching to devote himself to underwater photography. His work has appeared in many popular magazines and books, both for children and adults. Some of his books include a coffee table book of his shark photos and a retrospective of his work. For more about Jeff: jeffrotman.com
Tilbury House, Publishers
103 Brunswick Avenue
Gardiner, Maine 04345
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