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The Sea, the Storm and the Mangrove Tangle

Last updated Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Author: Lynne Cherry
Date of Publication:
ISBN: 0374364826
Grade Level: 1st    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Apr. 2006

Synopsis: Using a beautifully balanced format that combines panoramic illustrations with a storylike narrative, Cherry imagines the life cycle of a mangrove over a period of more than 100 years, from propagules (sprouting seeds) to a single tree to a tangle (a cluster of trees) to an island. As the unusual tree slowly increases in size, it sends out dozens of visible prop roots that anchor it to the sea floor at the edge of a Caribbean lagoon and becomes both shelter and food source for an amazing array of living things. Richly hued watercolor-and-colored-pencil paintings show birds, fish, and sea creatures in sufficient detail to allow for easy identification. The endpapers feature maps of mangroves around the world surrounded by borders containing a small, labeled painting of each species. An introduction and author's note explain the importance of mangroves to their ecosystem and encourage their preservation. Although Cherry has chosen to anthropomorphize a few of the animals by including snippets of conversation, the information is well researched and clearly presented, and the lesson in ecology is an important one. (from School LIbrary Journal)

Note to readers:
•  Propagule is pronounced like ?propagate? except the last syllable is ?gool?; Anole is a three-syllable word. The first two syllables are pronounced like ?a mole? except with an ?n? instead of an ?m? in mole and the last syllable is ?lee.?

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Look at the different places in the world on the map in the front of the book. Ask the students if they know where we live in the world. Point to all the red places and ask them what they have in common. Where are the red spots? Tell them those places have mangroves.
•  Ask students if they know what the circle of life means. Give them examples of animals and plants.

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  How does the mangrove tree first begin to grow?
•  What animals live in the mangrove tree?
•  How does the mangrove tree become a mangrove island?
•  What sea creatures choose to live by the mangrove island?
•  What do the fishermen want to do with the mangrove island? Why do they change their mind?
•  What keeps the animals safe during a hurricane?
•  Have you seen any of the animals in this story? Where?

Craft ideas:
•  Draw pictures of the animals that live by the mangrove island.
•  Cut strips of different color paper and glue them on a white construction piece of paper to show the water and colors of the sunset after the hurricane. Cut out a mangrove island and glue it on. Use stencils and/or stickers to add fish.

Special activities:
•  Bring paper cups, soil, and seeds. Have students plant their own plant.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!