At first glance, Ocean Bestiary looks like an adult alphabet book using marine life as its theme. To some degree that is true; however, each description of a marine organism includes a story about a personal interaction with the creature, as well as an illustration by the author. The stories are of scientists, sailors, captains, cooks, explorers, fishermen, philosophers, and others who have encountered the different organisms.

Along with a variety of occupations, many cultures are represented throughout the book. In the classroom, these culturally embedded practices and references can provide examples from a diversity of locations, eras, and perspectives. For example, in the chapter “Halibut,” the person featured is Winslow Homer, who is painting a scene where there are a pair of halibut in the back of the boat. The author describes Homer’s journey to Massachusetts, where he was researching the fish he was painting, and of the stories...

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