Category Archives: Picture Book

Creating SEA HORSE, RUN!

Eyes

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Do coral polyps have eyes?

All polyps have tentacles, a mouth, throat, and stomach, but coral polyps do not have eyes. 

Soft Coral Polyps   Hard Coral Polyps

The eyes are the soul of my characters. I put a lot of time and thought into each pair of eyes; however, Coral is an important character in “SEA HORSE, RUN!”, and she does NOT have eyes. I knew that would make it more challenging for readers to connect with her character, but since my husband is legally blind, I decided her character would give me the opportunity to express that you don’t need eyes in order to ‘see’ and understand the world around you. One of the most profound moments in the story is when Coral sings, “I see, I see!” She knows the ‘seaweed’ is the sea dragon long before Sea Horse understands even though Sea Horse has eyes to see.

Sea Horse and Leafy

Pages 20-21 of "SEA HORSE, RUN!"

Click on a question or link below to learn more about corals:

What is a coral polyp?

How do polyps eat?

How are corals named?

Why are corals important to sea horses?

Do coral polyps have eyes?

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Corals and Sea Horses

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Why are corals important to sea horses?

Many species of sea horses are entirely dependent on their coral environment for protection. Sea horses can change their color and texture to mimic the corals they are attached to which means the corals provide the perfect hiding place from predators. Since corals often protect sea horses, I thought it would be a nice reversal in “SEA HORSE, RUN!” to have my hero, Sea Horse, protecting his best friend, Coral.

Sea Horse & Coral

Sea Horse looks yellow like his best friend, Coral.

Also, many species of coral and even some coral reefs are endangered around the world, so it was easy to imagine Coral needed to be protected in the story. But protected from what? That was the hard part. I knew the danger needed to be concrete for young readers, so I chose a sea dragon because the word ‘dragon’ definitely excites the imagination!

Sea Horse and Sea Dragon

Sea Horse and Leafy. Leafy is a sea dragon!

Click on a question or link below to learn more about corals:

What is a coral polyp?

How do polyps eat?

How are corals named?

Why are corals important to sea horses?

Do coral polyps have eyes?

More Reef Animals

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Starfish and jellyfish are not really fish. Starfish are ECHINODERMS. Jellyfish are related to CORALS, and shrimp are CRUSTACEANS. Turtles are REPTILES.

Art copyright 2011 by Tammy Carter Bronson.

Mollusk Gallery

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Mollusks include snails, slugs, clams, squid, cuttlefish, and octopi. The majority of mollusks live in the water. Mollusks are organized into several classes. The largest class is GASTROPODA with more than 65,000 species of snails and slugs.

Art copyright 2011 by Tammy Carter Bronson.

Fish Gallery

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Sharks, eels, sea horses, and sea dragons are all FISH!

With over 31,000 species, this is the most diverse group of vertebrates (animals with spines).

Art copyright 2011 by Tammy Carter Bronson.

Corals Gallery

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Most corals have many polyps that live in clusters called ‘colonies.’ Polyps are tiny animals that use their tentacles to capture food. (See Hard Tree Corals. Most of the corals pictured here are not feeding.) Some polyps live alone. The Mushroom Coral is a large, single polyp. The type of polyp determines the size and shape of the colony. Polyps may also have hard or soft skeletons. When polyps with hard skeletons die, their tiny bones create a rock called ‘limestone.’ Coral reefs are made of limestone or the crushed bones of many, many millions of polyps!

Art copyright 2011 by Tammy Carter Bronson.