Review By ANDREA ZOLLMAN
Author Carol L. Malnor based her new book, On Kiki’s Reef, on her own visit to a coral reef. This story introduces to readers sea turtles as well as other fascinating inhabitants of a coral reef. The book reminded me of my own visit to Maui, diving among the fish and sea turtles in the warm Pacific Ocean.
Readers first meet Kiki the sea turtle when she emerges from an egg that was buried in the sand. After she takes her first perilous crawl to the water, she dives beneath the waves. After six years in the open ocean, she discovers a coral reef in the shallow waters near the shore. There she encounters many creatures: anemones, clownfish, tang fish, groupers, and wrasses. The tangs help keep Kiki’s shell clean; the wrasses clean inside the groupers’ mouths.
Each page alternates between narrative prose describing Kiki’s world and two lines of rhyming verse. On one page, readers learn about deadly fish such as barracuda and tiger sharks, and on the facing page, related information follows: “Kiki knows so very well/A shark’s strong jaws can crack her shell.”
After finishing Kiki’s story, readers can learn more by reading the sections about “Featured Creatures,” which include short descriptions of the animals described in the story, and parents can take advantage of “Carol’s Teaching Treasures,” which offer enrichment activities to accompany the story. A map on inside of the back cover highlights the world’s coral reefs.
This gentle story, along with colorful, flowing, full-page illustrations by Trina L. Hunner, make On Kiki’s Reef a pleasurable book to share with all children on any day, including a sunny day at the beach.
The publisher sent a copy of this book for review.