Night of the Moonjellies
Last week for Five in a Row we read Night of the Moonjellies by Mark Shasha. I chose it to go along with our Sea World field trip on Wednesday, and I’m glad we started doing activities/discussions from the book over the weekend, because we were too wiped out to do much after that long day!
The one thing about the book that was a little hard to explain to Ian was identifying true moonjellies. Mark Shasha used it as a nickname for comb jellies (ctenophores), but there actually is a different sea creature named a “moon jellyfish” (Aurelia aurita). Since they’re not really fish, the new trend is to call them jellies, which means when you come across things labeled “moon jellies” (such as we did in an aquarium at Sea World, much to Ian’s delight), they may not be the same creatures you were reading about! I decided it really didn’t matter. Ian enjoyed the story and seeing the Aurelia aurita just as much as if it had been a ctenophore. Still, we talked about the differences (comb jellies don’t sting) and enjoyed looking at online pictures of the ctenophores Shasha was remembering in his story. There was a lot of good information on the author’s website, as well as fairly basic descriptions and good pictures from the Simple English Wikipedia and earthlife.net.
To add to our look at ocean creatures, we watched the Magic School Bus episode “Take a Dive” and read The Magic School Bus on the Ocean Floor by Joanna Cole. Ian loves this series, and while I don’t read all the information on every page, he still learns a lot.
I’m sure we’ll come back to this book in a couple years and do some of the more advanced activities in the Five in a Row manual (Vol. 1). Right now every book has something new and exciting for a 4-year old. We’ve got lots of time to dive deeper into all there is to explore!