Messner draws a poetic analogy between people and corals in this story of Ken Nedimyer, founder of the Coral Restoration Foundation: "Some drift in the currents until they come to rest, not too deep, on the ocean floor. If one is lucky, it lands in a place where it can grow." Messner describes Nedimyer's upbringing in Florida, where he is entranced by the ocean--a passion that continues into his adulthood as he works to cultivate marine life on rocks for use in aquariums. This endeavor sparks an idea to plant healthy colonies in dying coral reefs. Readers are likely to be intrigued by the hands-on process of regrowing the reefs: "With a careful dab of epoxy--just the size of a Hershey's Kiss--volunteers attach the coral colonies. Piece by piece, arm by arm. Hoping they will grow on their own." Forsythe's grainy scenes of Nedimyer diving are infused with a golden glow that emanates from the healthy coral colonies--a hint at the wonder that ocean life inspires in the subject. Messner delivers a quiet homage to Nedimyer and the power of innovation. Ages 5-8. (May)Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.
Gr 2-5--A child's fascination with swimming in the ocean leads to important work in his adulthood. This picture book biography touches on useful lessons beyond the fall and rise of the world's coral reefs. Messner begins and ends the story with a potent line: "It starts with one." Following a short introduction to coral reefs, Messner quickly turns to Ken Nedimyer's Floridian childhood and his love of aquatic life. ("At one point he had thirty aquariums in his bedroom, all bursting with life"). Nedimyer continued to pursue his love of the ocean, first in live rock farming, which then led to his successful efforts in growing corals and replenishing reefs. There's a lot to this story, and at the same time it's a quick brush of science, conservation, and a life well lived. The early years of Nedimyer's life are simply told, but readers may be a bit lost from the start if they aren't already familiar with coral and algae. The concluding glossary is pretty technical. Teachers and librarians would do well to pair this with any of the fine children's books on coral reefs listed in the bibliography. Forsythe's broad pastel sketches sweep viewers along nicely through ocean life and human work. Explanations of coral reef decline and ways children can help urge monetary contributions to the work of restoring the reefs conclude this riveting title. VERDICT A book that can be used in so many ways--a study in biography, science, conservation, and volunteerism. A must for nonfiction collections.--Margaret Bush, Simmons College, BostonCopyright 2018 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.