________________ CM . . . . Volume xxi Number 25 . . . . March 6, 2015


Glow-in-the-Dark Creatures.

Natalie Hyde.
Markham, ON: Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2014.
32 pp., hardcover & PDF, $19.95 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-55455-330-3 (hc.), ISBN 978-1-55455-829-5 (PDF).

Grades 4-7 / Ages 9-12.

Review by Suzanne Pierson.

**** /4



If you take a walk in the woods at night, you might see a gentle glow on the dark forest floor. This eerie light is given off by bioluminescent mushrooms, such as the bitter oyster mushroom.

Mushrooms are fungi. They are neither plants nor animals, but something in between. They have stems and fruit bodies like plants, but must get their nutrition from other organism, like animals. Some species of fungi are bioluminescent. They do not give off bright flashes of light like some animals, but glow steadily. Their glow might be faint, but it lasts for days.


This well-researched and well-written book is sure to fascinate your junior nonfiction fans. What’s not to like about creatures – plant and animal – that glow in the dark?

     Author Natalie Hyde has written many nonfiction titles previously, as well as several works of fiction. In Glow in the Dark Creatures, she organizes her examples according to where they live: above ground, in the ground, and in the water. Because the majority of bioluminescent creatures live in the water, three of the six chapters deal with the sea: “The Sea’s Sunlight Zone”, “The Twilight Zone”, and “The Deep”.

     Glow in the Dark Creatures includes a table of contents with chapter headings and subheadings. The subheadings are designed to pique the interest of young readers with titles like “Fire Breathing Shrimp” and “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Death Trap”. The glossary is clearly written and clearly displayed on the page for quick reference. The index is surprisingly brief considering how much information there is in the 32 pages of this book.

     The books and websites listed in the “Further Reading” list include a fascinating National Geographic video on YouTube. The bibliography includes a TED Talk on finding giant squid. My only complaint is about the size of the type used for the resources listed. There is more than enough room on the page for these lists to be printed in a size clear enough to be read without a magnifying glass.

     The photographs throughout the book add greatly to the appeal of the information presented. It is a pleasure, therefore, to see a page of “Image Credits” listed at the back of the book.

     Glow in the Dark Creatures uses several effective design strategies to highlight interesting and important information so that young readers will be motivated to learn more.

     The photos have informative captions:

The dragonfish’s stomach has black walls to keep the lights of its bioluminescent meal from shining through and making it a target for predators.

     The book also has text boxes in the shape of light bulbs which highlight key information from the main text. In addition, there are flashlight graphics ‘shining’ light on interesting facts, and regular rectangular text boxes include additional information and photos.

     There are also five pages of activities, such as “How to Catch a Firefly”, and “Make Your Own Glow in the Dark Slime”, scattered throughout the book.

     Glow in the Dark Creatures will make a good addition to your library’s science collection. The only thing that could make it one bit more appealing is if they had made the cover – glow in the dark! That would have been fun.

Highly Recommended.

Suzanne Pierson is a retired teacher librarian, currently instructing Librarianship courses at Queen’s University in Kingston, ON.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.

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