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About the Author
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 me, 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" (2/2/2022 12:00:00 AM)
While I had a vague sense about what krill were, I hadn't really thought about what an important part they play in the ecosystem. Lilley starts from the beginning of a krill's life cycle and follows as one small egg sinks to the bottom of the ocean, starts to develop, and goes through the various stages to become a small ocean creature. Krill eats a LOT, and we see how krill turn green when they eat a lot of plant material. They continue to grow and eat even more and come into contact with a variety of ocean creatures. Of course, it soon becomes apparent that krill are going to be eaten themselves, but the particular one we are following manages to escape the whale at the end and can keep up his gobbling ways for a little while longer.
There is a lot of humor to go along with the scientific language; we see what krill look like during the phases of their development, and the names are those phases appear in the corner of the pages complete with pronunciation. This makes it great for a classroom read aloud, because the text addresses one krill as "you" and makes the tiny, anonymous animals seem sympathetic. We follow our krill and root for its growth, but also hope that our krill won't end up as someone else's dinner... at least not too soon!The illustrations are very detailed and give a good sense for the changes the animals go through, and also what the environment in which it lives is like. Since a lot of the krill's life is spent underwater, many of the pages have backgrounds in dark colors, with text in white or beige. The illustrations make good use of the entire spread, with some fun borders showing sea vegetation or other details. It's good to see more informational text for young readers, especially when they have fantastic end papers-- this one has two solid pages of tiny krill that made me think that maybe one of them was wearing a striped shirt like Waldo!--Karen Yingling "YA Book Central" (8/7/2022 12:00:00 AM)
[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" (1/1/2022 12:00:00 AM)
When a nonfiction picture book leaves its readers going 'Wow! That was so cool! I never knew that!' it ensures that the book is a winner in its own right! And Good Eating does that; it left all of us judges completely sated with the knowledge that this book is educating, engaging, and entertaining. We had absolutely no idea about how interesting the krill is until we read this book that is stuffed with information and fun facts about it (just like the krill stuffing itself with food!) Author Matt Lilley informs us about this little-known 'keystone species' of the ocean using a cool and effective second-person point of view that helps us identify with and root for our krill friend, one among a "krillion!" We join an anonymous narrator, who guides our friend, from when it is just an egg through various swim-eat-grow-molt cycles, till 'phew', we sigh in relief that our friend has not ended up as food, at least not within the pages of this book! Dan Tavis's illustrator's adorable and vibrant illustrations are the perfect accompaniment for both the entertainment and educative elements of the book. Good Eating's balance of humor, science, and even a bit of the macabre makes it a funny, adventurous, and great nonfiction treat for all its readers (young and old).-- "Cybils Award 2022" (2/16/2023 12:00:00 AM)