Do you know what amazing creatures are under that old pier?

The Pier at the end of the WorldIt’s no surprise that The Pier at the end of the World by Paul Erickson was cited as an Outstanding Science Trade Book by the Children’s Book Council of the National Science Teachers Association. If we’d had this book when I was in school, I might have liked science more!

With stunning photos by Andrew Martinez, this book gives us a fascinating look at the ocean creatures who live under an old rotting pier. One of several outstanding books in Tilbury House’s Nature Book series, I can’t wait to share it with my grandsons, who live near the coast.

As Tilbury notes, each of these wonderful books “aims for the highest standards of scientific accuracy and storytelling magic.” You get both in The Pier.

The wolffish, which grows to a length of 4 feet, is downright scary, while the sea anemones, no more than 5 inches tall, are stunningly beautiful. You certainly won’t want to tangle with the sea raven after you see its sharp spines. And wait ‘til you see the spiny lumpsucker! I can’t imagine how Martinez got such amazing photos.

I’m sure you didn’t know that the sea vase, a member of a group called sea squirts, creates a current of seawater in and out of its body. As it does, it catches and eats tiny particles of food in the current. There is just so much fascinating information here, about a whole lot of creatures I’ve never heard of.

The book not only tells the stories of these ocean creatures, but also provides lots of detailed information about each one in a section at the end of the book.

I’ve spent a lot of time with this book, and you will too, but be sure to share it with your kids and grandkids!



George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website,, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. Islandport Press published a book of George's favorite columns, "A Life Lived Outdoors" in 2014. In 2014, George also won a Maine Press Association award for writing the state's bet sports blog. In 2016, Down East Books published George's book, Maine Sporting Camps, and Islandport Press published George and his wife Linda's travel book, Take It From ME, about their favorite Maine inns and restaurants.