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Mark Kurlansky's "World Without Fish" (Workman Publishing, $16.95) is a terrific new book gorgeously illustrated by Frank Stockton. Mark wrote it for his favorite fishing companion, his obviously very bright 10-year-old daughter, but grownups won't be put off -- no talking down here. It's a fun read (when it doesn't make you tear your hair out.)

Kurlansky previously wrote the best-seller "Cod" and good-seller "Salt." Here, he explores the health of the oceans -- lucidly, with a touch of humor and a touch of tragedy. Most of us learned about Darwin's overall theory in our high school or college required biological science classes. Few of us ever read the whole of "Origin of Species." Here, Kurlansky reveals how Darwin's observations apply in real life to the current life of the oceans -- ecology in the real world, from jellyfish ("the cockroaches of the sea") to near-extinct Orange Roughy. The learning is easy, turning Biology 101 into pure pleasure. Frank Stocton's illusrations run from pungent cartoons to thrilling seascapes.

The book concludes with suggestions for what kids can do to make a difference. Grownups can do these things, too .(I'm about to quadruple my annual contribution to the Nature Conservancy). He favors a non-confrontational style of action, and as a resident of Gloucester, Mass. (former home of the sweetest cod in the world, now near-extinct) appreciates the role of fishermen in regulating their own catches to ensure future catches.

He'll be at Warwick's bookstore, 7812 Girard, La Jolla, at 7 pm on april 29, talking and signing his book. (Can't make it? Well, Amazon has the book at a discount.)

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