Hagfish, zombie worms, sleeper sharks―this group of patrons is stranger than the denizens of the Mos Eisley Cantina in Star Wars. A fish in a lab coat, piloting a deep-sea submersible, is our guide to the weirdly fascinating goings-on miles beneath the ocean surface.
The backmatter includes rare whale-fall photos from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. Dr. Robert Vrijenhoek of MBARI and Dr. Craig Smith, a deep-ocean ecologist at the University of Hawaii, have helped Jacquie Sewell to ensure scientific accuracy.
Whale Fall Cafe
About the Author & Illustrator
One medium-size whale carcass delivers as much food to the dark, cold ocean depths as 4,000 years of sinking food particles. When a dead whale arrives, the café opens for business, and who better than Dan Tavis to show us the bizarre deep-ocean diners who show up?
― EB, Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"A fish in both natty attire and a heavy-duty submersible invites readers on a tour of the deepest,darkest ocean depths where some denizens glow, some have transparent heads, and many live on “whale falls.” What are those, you ask? When a whale dies, its body sinks and becomes dinner for swarms of opportunistic feeders from hagfish and ravenous sleeper sharks to zombie worms and chemoautotrophic bacteria. The skeletal remains of this “gift that keeps on giving”can last for centuries, providing support for colonies of coral and sea anemones. Tavis brightens his setting’s inky depths with glowing, brightly hued, and proficiently rendered images of voracious sea creatures converging on their benthic banquet. Along with notes for a select photo gallery of café customers, Sewell closes with a report on the rare discovery of one 1987 fall, plus engaging profiles of two marine biologists she tapped as consultants. A revealing glimpse of a rarely studied link in the oceanic food chain."
― John Peters, Booklist