Good Eating: The Short Life of Krill – Perfect Picture Book Friday

If I were that krill, I’d be looking for the emergency exit right now. Good thing there’s strength in numbers, or at least enough survivors to ensure the production of billions more.

The cover gives the reader an important clue: this is not going to be a dull book about sea creatures. It’s going to be an eat or be eaten culinary experience.

We follow the life of krill, from a single egg sinking, sinking, sinking…

along with a few billion others.

Hey, egg. What are you doing?

Are you sinking?

Text ©Matt Lilley Illustration ©Dan Tavis

And progress through the developmental stages as the egg transforms into a 26-legged plankton-eating machine. But krill aren’t the only gluttons in the sea.

Text ©Matt Lilley Illustration ©Dan Tavis

Yes, those tiny krill are being stalked by pretty much every other predator with a mouth. No wonder krills’ lives are short.

Better not think about that! Just keep swimming up, up, up.

And growing.

For your new body,

you grow a new shell…

Your shell breaks apart again, and you come out…

(Note: the author uses second person point of view, a highly unusual choice, and one that works well in this narrative.)

But back to those frantically swimming krill stuffing their gullets with phytoplankton! Everyone wants a piece of them. They are a “keystone species” of the ocean, meaning the entire ocean’s food web pretty much depends on their survival and propagation.

So much knowledge in so few pages! And what do you think? Is that krill on the cover framed by the eyeball of a whale???!!! Brilliant!

This book is playful (with illustrations that will bring a fair number of giggles) while doling out a healthy serving of information that kids are sure to gobble up.

Activities from Matt Lilley’s website:

Download the Teacher’s Guide, including questions to ask before reading, post-reading discussion questions, activities, and resources for further learning.

Coloring sheet of the book’s cover.

Make a paper krill.

Title: Good Eating: The Short Life of Krill

Author: Matt Lilley

Illustrator: Dan Tavis

Publisher: Tilbury House, 2022

Ages: Elementary school

Themes: Krill, food webs, oceans

For more perfect picture book recommendations, please visit Susanna Hill’s website.

17 thoughts on “Good Eating: The Short Life of Krill – Perfect Picture Book Friday

  1. Danielle Hammelef says:

    I have a copy of this book and it’s one of my favorite nonfiction books. I put in a library purchase request because kids are going to eat this one up, BUT, my librarian responded nonfiction budgets are too limited. Yet, my fiction requests are granted most of the time. So sad because this is creative nonfiction and hilarious.

    • Jilanne Hoffmann says:

      Nonfiction budgets are too limited!!! How can they say this, considering how much emphasis is being place on nonfiction in the curriculum? So shortsighted. Sooooo soooo frustrating! I’m sorry, Danielle. It’s sad. And it’s a favorite of mine, too.

  2. Mona Voelkel says:

    I am going to order this book right now because of this review!!! I am fascinated by the wonders of the ocean and it sounds like I can learn a lot from this book! Also, it sounds like it will be an excellent mentor text for writing in second person!!!By the way, I just received What is a River because of your review and it is amazing! Thank you!!

    • Jilanne Hoffmann says:

      Yay! I’m so glad you find these reviews helpful! Both of these books are in my home library, too! Love them both! Good Eating has the added bonus of being a little cheeky with its humor. Enjoy!

  3. Patricia Tilton says:

    I recently watched a documentary about dolphins and whales hunting/feeding on krill. They certainly stay together and movie quickly. I was so fascinated. Now I can see what they look like close up. Interesting book for children! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Maria Marshall says:

    This is such a fun book. I love all the “rule” bending/breaking that Matt did and how it resulted in a really lively and entertaining book about the life-cycle & importance of krill. Great review & activities, Jilanne.

  5. Ste J says:

    I would love to be educated by this book, let alone The Child. Amelia watches fishes swimming on YouTube and is always hyped seeing all the different sea life so this book is once again another to add to the longer and longer list.

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