The Brilliant Deep: Rebuilding the World's Coral Reefs; Kate Messner, illustrated by Matthew Forsythe
The Brilliant Deep tells the fascinating true story of Ken Nedimyer and his pioneering project to rebuild the coral reefs. Author, Kate Messner, and illustrator, Matthew Forsythe, bring Nedimyer’s passion for the oceans and his brilliant ideas to life in a striking and educational picture book.
As a child, Ken Nedimyer loved the ocean. He would watch TV shows about famous underwater explorer Jacques Cousteau and would take every opportunity to visit the beach where he would swim out to the the reefs that teemed with life. The elaborate homes full of colour and ocean life fascinated Ken and he began studying fish at his home - his bedroom became an aquarium! One summer, when Ken visited the reef he noticed something. The reef was changing, the coral was less colourful and the fish were fewer in number. Concerned about this and after a stroke of good fortune, Ken began a project. Something that had never been done before. He was going to grow his own corals and bring the colour and fish back to his favourite spot in the ocean…
The Brilliant Deep is testament to the powers of one man and the immense difference a single person with a vision can make to the world. This beautifully presented picture book begins with a single coral and ends with one man staring out into the ocean, proud of the what he has accomplished. The action in-between sees Ken growing his own corals before carefully gluing them onto dead and dying reefs. The ending of the book is incredibly positive as we learn that whilst Ken is first-handedly replanting and reviving the coral reefs in the Florida Keys, through his Coral Restoration Foundation he has been able to spread his project and research to the world in the hope that other countries and marine biologists will be able to do what he has done.
The narrative is driven by scientific fact as Messner explains how corals grow and how Ken, along with his daughter, have transplanted the ones that he has grown to reinvigorate dying reefs. Text is detailed, particularly for the target age range, and whilst it allows the reader to understand Ken’s scientific process some words and phrasing may need further clarification. The watercolour scenes are gorgeous, double page spreads are immersive and the choice of colours is perfect for a read that is largely set within the ocean.
A wonderful celebration of the ingenuity and problem-solving of one man whose passion and ideas have saved, and will continue to save, many a coral reef. Beautiful and inspiring, particularly for any future marine biologists.
Recommended for 6+.