Matagorda Magic

The Hidden Life of a Texas Bay

By Kimberly Ridley

Illustrated by Rebekah Raye

978-1-64843-131-9 Hardcover (Printed Case)
9 x 10 x 0 in
64 pp. 43 color illus. Glossary.
Pub Date: 02/21/2024


  • Hardcover (Printed Case) $24.95
Follow the lives of a resident family of American oystercatchers as you explore the diversity of an estuary, where rivers meet the sea, in Matagorda Bay. Celebrate the unique ecology of the bay as its own little world of Texas estuaries, the “nurseries of the sea.” Matagorda Magic: The Hidden Life of a Texas Bay reveals the importance of these features as critical habitats for more than 200 species of resident and migratory birds, including the endangered whooping crane.
Estuaries are among the most productive ecosystems on Earth. In Texas, these places sustain sea life and provide critical habitat for hundreds of species. Estuaries also filter out pollution, buffer the shore from storms, sequester carbon, and offer recreational opportunities.
Yet estuaries are commonly viewed as nothing more than mosquito-infested wastelands. In Texas alone, approximately 50 percent of coastal wetlands have been destroyed in the last century. During that same time, half of oyster reefs have disappeared. Such losses show the disconnect between people and estuaries as well as the widespread lack of understanding about the importance of these vital ecosystems.
Matagorda Magic addresses this misunderstanding by inviting young people, their families, and teachers to discover the wonder of estuaries through the lives of their animal inhabitants as they contend with challenges on a Texas bay. Sidebars illuminate the fascinating lives of oystercatchers, whooping cranes, oysters, blue crabs, shrimp, spotted seatrout, and other animals who depend on estuaries for survival. By offering an intimate glimpse into these hidden lives, this book informs, nurtures, and deepens a love of place that in turn inspires stewardship.

Published by Texas A&M University Press