Coral Reefs Up Close: Explore and Protect the Natural Wonders of the Sea by Erin T. Spencer
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Obviously meant for younger readers, this comic that ought to delight and edify us about the wonders of coral reefs KINDA does its job.
I mean, a little more than half of it does just that. Descriptions, names, okay art, and a little bit of the wonder. It was OKAY. I mean, it's meant for young readers. I remember stuff like this in my own elementary library.
So why aren't I just giving this a bit more love under the explicit reason that it is what it is?
Because more than a third of it turned on its heels and put the focus back on "everyday" folks who are killing all the coral or using too much water in their suburban homes and PLEASE don't forget to write letters to your politicians.
In other words, it snatches away any kind of WONDER you might have felt and attempts to GUILT you instead.
Let's be real for a moment. Real change comes from the top. Big corporations and governments are more than complicit in trashing the reefs. Most of the weak media we get about the destruction is a PR shift to blame the ignorant public for the deaths when it's actually the corporations' and governments' fault. Want less trash? Completely alter the way that foodstuffs and packaging are handled. Don't make products that poison the world. Don't HAND all the poison to everyone and expect them to miraculously find some way to make that poison disappear. JUST PREVENT IT ALTOGETHER.
What I wanted from this book was to be instilled with awe and wonder for the coral reefs, to understand and FEEL why they ought to be saved, viscerally, emotionally, and visually. An eight-year-old isn't going to have the ability to solve the other, systemic problem, so why are you trying so hard to blame them or have them blame their parents? The true blame lies ELSEWHERE.
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