What is it about sea turtles that make them so mysterious? Is it the laborious egg-laying process, in which thousands of females lumber up the beach to deposit their eggs? Is it their immense size? Their prehistoric roots?According to author James R. Spotila, the director of the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation at Drexel University, it is all of this and more. In Sea Turtles, he writes, "The seven species alive today are ancient reptiles living dinosaurs if you will swimming through our oceans just as they did one hundred million years ago." Sea Turtles is a compelling look at these ancient creatures, which can live for decades and reach weights of up to 2,000 pounds. Spotila traces the history and life cycle of the sea turtle, as well as efforts to preserve the seven species, many of which have been hunted to the brink of extinction. Sea Turtles profiles several individuals and programs aimed at saving the turtle. Beautiful color photos and lyrical writing make this book a must-have for any nature enthusiast on your gift list. Amy Scribner is a writer in Olympia, Washington.