I remember halcyon days walking on the beach with my mother as a child and being amazed at the abundance of creatures and sea detritus washed ashore. I remember days pretending to be an explorer where shells were jewels and animals were great monsters to be fought and conquered. I remember other days at the library searching through picture books and encyclopedias to learn more about my discoveries. Be a Beach Detective by Peggy Kochanoff folds all those memories and adventures into the role of the scientist. Written in the form of a series of mysteries with each section beginning with a question to be answered, this book melds scientific language and colourful display to engage the reader in the science of beach ecosystems and biology. Chapters are short and to the point which will help keep the attention of young readers. New vocabulary is highlighted, and each chapter ends with the emphatic statement: “Mystery solved.”
Classroom Connections: Use this book to introduce students to the coastal systems of Canada or inspire an interest in ecosystems. Better yet combine a read aloud of this text with listening or learning the song “British Columbia” by Judith Drynan and Margaret Drynan. This book might also be used as an excellent resource for environment projects in the classroom. This is a great resource to use as a stand alone or interdisciplinary text.
Review by Kent Miller