A few weeks ago, Caramel visited the book fair held in his school campus and picked a handful of nonfiction books for himself. A couple weeks ago, he reviewed two of them: Sea Bunnies by Kelly Hargrave and Hot Lava! Fiery Facts About Volcanoes by Alice Fewery. Today he talks about the third book he got from the book fair: Glow Animals by K.C. Kelley. As usual, Sprinkles is taking notes and asking questions.
Sprinkles: Okay, Caramel. This is the third book from the book fair. Are you still happy you managed to get your paws in this one?
S: So tell us a bit about this book.
C: This book is about all sorts of animals that glow.
S: What does that mean?
C: It’s called bioluminescence.
S: That’s a big word for a little bunny.
C: Yep. I have all the words!
S: Okay, so tell me what bioluminescence means.
C: It’s animals and other living beings creating light somehow.
S: That is pretty fascinating stuff.
C: It is.
S: So what kinds of animals do we meet in this book?
C: For one, my new amazing squishy friend Jellyfish. He is bioluminescent. Like about 50% of all jellyfish. I learned that from this website of a lab at the University of California San Diego.
S: That’s interesting! Do you know how jellyfish make their light?
S: I get that, but what is the mechanism?
C: There is a segment in their body that holds a bunch of chemicals and the jellyfish mixes them to make light. Well, actually I am making that up because the book does not really talk about how they make their light.
S: Okay, I thought your explanation was plausible, you could have fooled me. But so the book did not tell you about the mechanism of how a jellyfish can make light? I’m thinking they should have!
C: Well, they do explain things more generally. Most animals which glow have some chemical, luciferin, in a part of their body, and when they mix it with oxygen, it glows.
S: Hmm, I did not know that! And I did not know what luciferin was till now. So Wikipedia tells me that “luciferin (from the Latin lucifer, “light-bearer”) is a generic term for the light-emitting compound found in organisms that generate bioluminescence”. So some mechanisms are explained then.
S: And fireflies and jellyfish are pretty different animals! What other animals do we meet in this book?
C: Lantern fish, click beetle, dragon fish, lantern shark. Which is different from the lantern fish.
S: Hmm, I did not know there were sharks that could make light!
C: Yes, there are!
S: Apparently they are rather small. At most three feet or so.
C: Well, for a bunny, that is not really small. I’d not want to meet one if I could help it.
S: I understand Caramel.
C: At least the dwarf lantern shark is really small. It is about four inches. Now I would not mind meeting one of those.
S: Makes sense to me.
S: What else is in the book?
C: There are more animals with bioluminescence. And then there are other animals which don’t make their own light, but their skin or fur reacts to UV light. That is called fluorescence.
S: Oh that’s cool too. What are some examples of fluorescent animals?
C: Glowing sea slug and pyrosome.
S: Hmm, I know about sea slugs because you told me all about them when you were reviewing that book Sea Bunnies, but what are pyrosome?
C: According to the book, they are actually colonies of tiny animals called zooids, and they look like purple fuzzy cucumbers.
S: Wikipedia says they are also called sea pickles. That’s interesting too, Caramel. I learned a lot today. So did you like this book then? It seems to have a lot of facts.
C: Yes. And it has lots of colorful pictures of weird animals. So I like the book. And my new friend Jellyfish, of course.
S: Of course. So how about describing the book to me in three words?
C: Colorful weird animal facts. Well, that’s four words.
S: It will do, Caramel. Let us wrap this up then. What do you want to tell our readers?
C: Stay tuned for more book bunny reviews!