Book Reviews

A Double-breasted Cormorant, Phalacrocorax auritus,  rests on a tree stump in the Rainbow River in Dunnellon, Florida.
A Double-breasted Cormorant rests on a tree stump in the Rainbow River in Dunnellon, Florida.

Wild Waters Photo Journal – School Library Journal (August 2010)

Grades 6 & Up

O’NEILL, Michael Patrick. Wild Waters Photo Journal. photos by author. 107p. Batfish. Sept. 2010. Tr $29.95. ISBN 978-0-9728653-6-4. LC 2009909442.
Gr 6 Up–This personal collection of stunning, full-color photographs highlights unique underwater habitats and the life found in select natural communities around the world. Full spreads provide either an overview of an ecosystem, e.g., Komodo National Park or Bali in Indonesia, or a signature animal, e.g., the great white shark at Guadalupe Island, Mexico, or a dwarf caiman in Brazil. Sparkling close-ups highlight such individual traits as the open jaw of an American alligator with its rows of menacing teeth, and the accompanying texts succinctly describe unique features of the wildlife pictured. The brown-and-tan torpedo ray looks innocuous but may discharge an electric shock of 200 volts if provoked. The male jawfish incubates the female’s almost-translucent fertilized eggs in its mouth for about a month. Threats to these creatures’ habitats and their vibrant life include destructive fishing techniques used by subsistence-level people living nearby. The photo of a reef reduced to rubble by homemade bombs used to stun and kill the fish is haunting in its stark portrayal of environmental destruction. The photographs are compelling by themselves and beautiful to browse. This book informs readers and gives them a deeper understanding of the ever-present threats to the ecological diversity and beauty of the planet.–Frances E. Millhouser, formerly at Chantilly Regional Library, Fairfax County, VA

Wild Waters Photo JournalLibrary Media Connection (2010)

O’Neill, Michael Patrick; Wild Waters Photo Journal
2010, 116pp. $29.95 hc. Batfish Books; 978-0-9728653-6-4, Grades 9-12
Focusing on aquatic environment in Indonesia, Mexico, Brazil and Florida, this book provides a stunning look at the beauty and diversity of life to be found underwater. The large, spectacular color photographs are accompanied by brief descriptions of the various habitats and marine life as well as by O’Neill’s personal reflections on the scenes and creatures he has photographed. O’Neill also thoughtfully expresses his concern for the future of these delicate aquatic environments and urges their careful use and preservation. Not intended to provide comprehensive information on any of the ecosystems or their inhabitants, this dramatic book will nevertheless engage and captivate both browsers and serious students of marine life. Recommended. Gregory A. Martin, Curriculum Materials Center Librarian, Assistant Professor of Library Science, Cedarville (Ohio) University.

Wild Waters Photo Journal – Pennsylvania School Librarians Association

O’Neill, Michael Patrick. Wild Waters Photo Journal. Palm Beach Gardens: Batfish, 2010. 978-0-9728653-6-4. 116p. $29.95.

Gr. 7-12.

In this collection of photographs of ocean life, award-winning photographer Michael Patrick O’Neill leaves us with a sense of wonder not only of the animals and ecosystems he presents, but also of his ability as a photographer to capture such things with a camera. Untrimmed photographs dominate each 2-page spread of this 116-page, 8 3/4 x 11 1/4 horizontal book, giving the reader an intimate view of underwater life and threats to it in specific ecosystems near Indonesia, Mexico, Brazil and Florida, USA.

Brief text explains and provides context for the facing photograph. Quotations from O’Neill describe his observations of the subject and the challenges he overcame to photograph it. While there are no maps or depth charts in the book, Wild Waters could be used after Journey Into the Deep by Johnson and Tracking Trash by Burns by science students in charge of using Google Earth to identify where O’Neill’s subjects live. Savvy teachers could use O’Neill’s digital stock photographs licensing statements in conversations about citing digital resources.

Finally, remember this book when it is time for career research as well – O’Neill is an inspiration to any aspiring photographer. Photography, Ocean Life and Ecosystems. Sarah Braxton – Juniata Valley School District

Wild Waters was selected for its list of the best selections for young adults for 2011.

Ocean Magic & Shark EncountersSchool Library Journal (March 2008)
Grades 1 to 4

Ocean Magic: Award-winning photographer O’Neill introduces readers to coral reefs, kelp forests, and the ocean bottom. Especially stunning are the photos of the Hairy Frogfish, an incredibly camouflaged member of the Anglerfish family that prowls off the coast of Florida. Nevertheless, the colorful creatures of the coral reef are the stars of this book. The author’s strong support of conservation comes through loud and clear in his narrative, and photographs amplify this message by showing the amazing life-forms that could be lost.

Shark Encounters highlights several species, including the breathtaking Scalloped Hammerhead of the eastern Pacific. Views of the creatures’ prey provide variety, and particularly eye catching is the picture of the giant Napoleon Wrasse snapped with the lens partly above and partly below its shallow habitat. Without underplaying the fearsome and highly developed hunting skills of sharks, O’Neill stresses the importance of predators’ roles in maintaining the balance of ocean life. The spectacular full-color images in these works make them beautiful additions.

Ocean MagicLibrary Media Connection (2008)

O’Neill, Michael Patrick; Ocean Magic
2008, 48pp. $19.95 hc. Batfish Books; 978-0-9728653-5-7, Grades K-5
Fish and other deep-sea creatures are presented in this book. Vibrantly colorful photographs beautifully supplement the text, showing the diversity of life underwater. The author is an experienced undersea explorer, and offers brief tidbits about different creatures. The page layouts with their large pictures and simple, but informative, text are appealing to younger and older readers. The “Ocean Realm” section contains frequently asked questions to help with various questions curious youngsters will have about scuba diving. Readers could use this book for basic research questions, but the information is not in depth. The book also promotes conservation of the oceans, and will hold a fascination for browsers. Glossary. Recommended. Jo Monahan, Librarian, University of North Texas Libraries, Denton.

Shark EncountersLibrary Media Connection (2008)

O’Neill, Michael Patrick; Shark Encounters
2008, 48pp. $19.95 hc. Batfish Books; 978-0-9728653-4-0, Grades 1-6
Ever seen a shark in a centerfold? This title has several and the photographs are outstanding! Michael Patrick O’Neill has created a picture book for students that will intrigue even the most reluctant nature enthusiast. Eight different sharks are included in this author’s attempt to dispel all the shark fears of the reader. The book contains some advanced vocabulary, but the photographs will attract a variety of readers and browsers. If you are going to be buying a shark book this season, you should seriously consider this one. Recommended. Roxanne Welch Mills, Supervisor of Media Services, Chesapeake (Virginia) Public Schools

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