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Reviews & Accolades

Following is an official review of "Monster in the Water" by Dylan D'Agate.

Monster in the Water: Fighting Back Against Harmful Algal Blooms was written by a young writer, Dylan D'Agate. A group of children visits a local beach in a small town called Seaville, but it would be a different experience this time. 

They felt disappointed when they met the sign, "BEACH CLOSED, NO SWIMMING." Soon after, they noticed that the beach was green, and it seemed to them that something dangerous was on the beach. What could that be? How did they solve the problem? 

In my opinion, this is the most informative children's book I have read recently. I will allow my kids to read this book because the information it contains is helpful to their mental health. The information in this book would change the mindset of children towards nutrition and their environment. 

The positive aspect of this book was that it was perfectly illustrated. I saw how the kids stood confused because of what they encountered at the beach. Likewise, I was glad to read this book because it helped me learn how to find solutions to difficult situations. 

What I liked most about this children's book was that it educated children on how to maintain a good environment and how to be responsible for their lives. Nowadays, children expect their parents to carry out all the tasks in their environment; hence, this book would correct such a wrong idea. 

Another thing I liked about this book was that it explained some obscure terms. "Nutrient pollution" and "eutrophication" are examples of such terms. This book will teach children more about organisms and their effects. 

There was nothing I disliked about this book. It was an exceptionally well-edited book, as I did not find any grammar and punctuation errors. I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. I recommend it to kids who want to know more about environmental pollution, and it will also suit those kids who want to be useful to their community.

"With the environmental challenges we face today, to have this book written by a young man with an environmental ethic at such an early age is inspiring! It gives us hope! This book not only states in a clear way the challenge of algal blooms, but shares positive solutions. Whether you are a parent or teacher, you'll find this to be an easy to read, beautifully illustrated book that will help your children understand the impact our actions have on our beautiful world." 

-Greg Traymar, International Director, Sharing Nature Worldwide

“Monster in the water” is a fun and engaging introduction to harmful algal blooms.  It provides children with useful information about algal blooms and their potential links to nutrient enrichment and eutrophication and offers a few simple actions that they can take in their local community to help prevent blooms.  This book would be a great gift for any young scientist, and can help parents and teachers inspire or encourage an interest in the biological sciences."

-Dr. Donald Anderson

Director of the US National Office for Harmful Algal Blooms

Senior Scientist, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

“A spirited account of a growing problem--and one we can solve if we put our minds to it!"


-Professor Bill McKibben

Schumann Distinguished Scholar in Environmental Studies at Middlebury College 

Recipient of the Gandhi Peace Prize

"I read the book, Monster in the Water, by young author Dylan D'Agate.  I have to say I was so very surprised and enjoyed reading this book very much.  The storytelling, the topic, the writing, and the art are fabulous!  I think children will take a double-take look at the ocean or other water systems before they get in AND know what the algal blooms are about.  The book also teaches the children how to help reduce this problem.  Thank You Dylan for teaching children to be environmental stewards for our world!"

-Sylvia Medina 
President, Green Kids Club


"What a fantastic educational tool Monster in the Water is, made all the more impressive given the age of Dylan D'Agate of sixteen. I would have never in a hundred years guessed this book was written by a teenager as it does an exceptional job of providing comprehensive eco-fiction in a manner that is easy for even the youngest readers to understand. This is a book my kindergartener has requested twice in the past six days as part of our bedtime routine and the fact that she can pronounce and define “eutrophication” at the age of five speaks volumes about the accessibility and ease with which a seemingly complex scientific phenomenon can be absorbed when presented by a gifted storyteller. She also liked the diverse cast of characters illustrated in full color by Maria DeCerce, bringing the narrative to life with children who look like her. As a parent, the best part of this story is the message of hope. Our environment is in a state of decay and to a child, a reversal of any degree may feel impossible, but to see a community of children band together to make significant change is exactly the inspiration the next generation needs to get done what, until now, my own generation have been unable to accomplish. Very, very highly recommended."

-Reviewed By Jamie Michele for Readers’ Favorite

The combination of mystery, colorful drawings, and attention to scientific detail creates a picture book story that is lively, engaging, and educational—just the ticket for usually-reluctant readers who need more than an outline of facts to become involved in environmental issues!


Diane Donovan, Donovan's Literary Services
Midwest Book Review

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