Good Eating: The Short Life of Krill (Hardcover)
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"To my delight, your average krill is a far stranger story of metamorphosis than anything our butterflies can come up with." - Elizabeth Bird, A Fuse 8 Production
A fun exploration of a tiny animal at the base of the ocean food chain
Just 2 inches long full-grown, this little guy is the foundation of the Southern Ocean food chain... “Hi. What are you? You appear to be an egg. You are an egg sinking. For many days, you sink. You sink a mile down, and you keep sinking down… down… until…”
The unidentified narrator follows one krill among billions as it pursues its brief existence, eating and eating while metamorphosing from one thing into another and trying to avoid being eaten. Questions and advice are hurled at the krill on every page, but the krill never responds—because, after all, krill can’t talk, and this is nonfiction. Krill are the largest animals able to catch and eat phytoplankton, and they in turn are eaten by the largest animals ever to live on earth—blue whales—as well as by seals, penguins, and a host of others. In other words, krill are really good at eating, and they make really good eating. And that makes them the most important animals in the high-latitude oceans. As in The Whale Fall Café, Dan Tavis’s illustrations combine scientific accuracy with Nemo liveliness and humor. Our star krill is so good at gobbling up phytoplankton that he turns green, so we can pick him out from the crowd racing to escape a penguin’s beak or a blue whale’s gaping maw. The book has been reviewed and endorsed by global krill expert Dr. Stephen Nichol, and the manuscript earned an honorable mention in Minnesota’s McKnight Artist Fellowships for Writers. Helpful backmatter is included.
About the Author
Matt Lilley (Minneapolis, MN) has a master’s degree in scientific and technical communication with a special emphasis on medical writing for kids. A technical writer by day and a children’s nonfiction book author by night, he finds that the night work is harder because it requires making complicated topics interesting as well as easy to understand. He is a Minnesota Master Naturalist and likes writing about science and nature as well as medicine. His previous children’s books include Why We Love and Why We Cry (Capstone) and Canada Geese and Beavers (in ABDO’s “Pond Animals” series).
Dan Tavis has been doodling since his first math class in elementary school and was inspired to paint upon discovering Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes comic strip. Watterson’s work remains a major influence. Dan is the illustrator of Common Critters (2020), The Whale Fall Café(2021), and Fluffy McWhiskers and the Cuteness Explosion (2021) and indulges his passion to illustrate characters that emotionally connect with the viewer and tell stories through visual narrative. Dan creates illustrations with watercolor, ink, and digital media.
[Good Eating] follows the ever-popular (to predators, anyway) Antarctic krill from blobby egg to shrimplike maturity, where they are surrounded by “krillions” of fellow crustaceans and not a few hungry-looking seals, penguins, whales, and fish. Lilley makes jocular observations (“You look kind of buggy, but you’re not a bug. / You look kind of shrimpy, but you’re not a shrimp.”) and comments on successive growth stages, bioluminescence, and this keystone species’ role in the Southern Ocean’s food chain.
— John Peters - Booklist
And just in case you're wondering how many millions and millions of krill there are in the world... Author Matt Lilley says there are a KRILLION!...The back matter, which includes more wonderful illustrations, explains the life cycle of krill and how these tiny creatures are the "keystone species of the Southern Ocean." The author discusses how krill move and can even "molt and bolt"--shedding their skin when a predator is near--and swim away!
— Carol Baldwin - Carol Baldwin's Blog
My true appreciation of a work of nonfiction for younger readers never burns brighter than when I am able to take a book, look it right in the eye, and say, “GAAAAHHH! NATURE IS SO WEIRD!!!” And friends, I am delighted to say that this little book by Lilley and Tavis, gave me that warm panicked feeling in my belly I always strive to find. Yes, this is a book about krill. If you’re an adult like myself then you may know roundabout two facts about krill: 1. They are important to the oceans from an environmental standpoint and 2. Whales eat them by the truckload but they’re small. Therein begins and ends what I knew about the little buggers. That is also why I found GOOD EATING to be so delightful. Because Matt Lilley does not begin where you might expect him to. He starts with a shot of a single, solitary egg. “Hey, egg. What are you doing? Are you sinking?” Painted a luminous golden brown against a sea of black, the egg sinks down, more than a mile. Yet when it hatches it’s still spherical. To my delight, your average krill is a far stranger story of metamorphosis than anything our butterflies can come up with. Constantly grown and shedding and grown and shedding (and not, for quite some time, eating) krill are shapeshifters. Even when they reach their final state, they’re still shedding armor. This deep dive into the microcosm of their lives is as elucidating as it is mesmerizing. You’ll never think about them the same way again.
— Elizabeth Bird - SLJ - A Fuse 8 Production