West Coast at Low Tide
West Coast at Low Tide
At the edge of the majestic ocean, on the Pacific west coast, endless tides shift back and forth, twice every day. The ocean is always moving, drawn by the forces of the moon and sun.
At high tide, the sea is near, splashing over the rocks and sand. At low tide, the ocean retreats and a beautiful beach is revealed.
Between the ebb and flow of the tides lies the intertidal zone, where a remarkable community of creatures thrives in a home of every-changing conditions.
Pacific Blue Mussel
Mussels anchor themselves to rocks with strong, silky fibers called byssal threads. The threads help secure them in a crashing surf. Mussels are a favorite food of crabs, birds and sea stars. At high tide, mussels open their beautiful blue shells to take in food and oxygen. As the water recedes, they close, keeping a bit of the ocean inside.
This third book in the delightful “West Coast Wild” series maintains Hodge’s crisp clear writing style and attractive illustrations that introduced young readers to the west coast ecosystem West Coast Wild: A Nature Alphabet; West Coast Wild Babies. Fourteen species are simply described with details of their homes in the intertidal zone, how they move, what they eat and how they protect themselves at low tide. The variety of creatures and their roles highlight the biodiversity so vital to this unique and changeable community at the edge of the shore. For instance, bat stars feed on dead animals and algae while some species are food for gulls or sea otters. In a brief summary at the end of the book, the author reminds readers of this interconnection and cautions care when exploring on beaches and in tide pools.
Continuing her series style of watercolor and color pencil illustrations in the large format books, illustrator Reczuch spreads each scene fully across the pages for eye-catching perspective. The bright, accurately depicted creatures almost seem to move in their watery settings.
West Coast at Low Tide is a great way to prepare youngsters for their first adventure at the seashore when the tide is out, giving them the tools to identify the accessible creatures they’ll see and making the experience all the more meaningful.
Gillian Richardson is a freelance writer living in British Columbia.