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At the Sea Floor Café

At the Sea Floor Café cover

I was at the Alphabet Garden Bookstore the other day and had the great pleasure of seeing Leslie Bulion introduce her new book At the Sea Floor Café: Odd Ocean Critter Poems.

In a series of lively poems, the book introduces us to some of the oddest creatures in the world’s oceans. There’s the poisonous upside-down violet snail that dines on Portuguese men-of-war. The convict fish who live in burrowed caves and daily eat their fry to spit them back out again alive. When faced with a predator, the leopard sea cucumber eviscerates itself, spewing out toxic tubules and sometimes inner organs. And then there’s my all-time favorite, the coconut octopus. This clever beast wraps six of its legs around its body and uses its remaining legs to walk across the ocean floor, imitating the motion of a coconut caught by ocean currents.

Bulion, who has a graduate degree in oceanography, shared photographs, short video clips, and even a song about the broody squid (who tucks her egg-sack under her arms to protect it from predators). But the most fun video lasted all of four seconds. It shows the coconut octopus sliding across the ocean floor—really cute! Watch it here.

The book is a great introduction to ocean life for children. It is engagingly illustrated by Leslie Evans. At the back, Bulion provides a glossary of marine terms, along with poetry notes explaining the type of poems she used in the book. And it provides the perfect excuse to admire that octopus again.

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