We’ve spent the month of July studying oceans. I knew I’m the Biggest Thing In the Ocean would be a hit, but we found a few other books, too.
I’m The Biggest Thing in the Ocean
by Kevin Sherry
We borrowed this book from the library and I’m thinking we definitely need to purchase it. A giant squid swims around, comparing himself to other sea animals and declaring that he’s the biggest thing in the ocean. We’re introduced to a variety of fish, turtles, jellyfish, etc. before SURPRISE! a sperm whale swallows up the squid. Looking around the squid declares that he is, indeed, the biggest thing in this whale! We loved this book and read it many times throughout the unit.
One Nighttime Sea
by Deborah Lee Rose
This counting book begins with 1 blue whale calf and counts up to 10 turtle hatchlings, then back down from 10 nimble basket stars to 1 brand-new seal pup. The pictures are torn paper collages and just beautiful. Older kids would probably enjoy creating their own ocean scene in this style. I loved that it included unusual creatures, like coral polyps, silky nudibranchs, and masked butterflies. The last couple pages of the book include more information about each of the sea creatures featured in the book. The kids loved the rhyming text, this is a book we enjoyed reading together several times!
Into the A, B, Sea
by Deborah Lee Rose
The companion to One Nighttime Sea, we found this book equally enjoyable. I really love the torn paper illustrations. We’re going to have to do an art project like that soon…. Each letter is represented by an underwater sea creature or plant in a rhythmic rhyme that my kids never tired of. We enjoyed the mixture of familiar animals as well as some unusual ones. Of course the last couple pages include a little more information about each animal mentioned in the book. Definitely planning to add both these books to our collection!
Wish for a Fish: All About Sea Creatures
by Bonnie Worth
One of these days I’m going to purchase the entire collection of “The Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library.” My 5-year-old adores these books and they are packed with information that he soaks up. At the same time, my 2-year-old loves the rhyme and silliness of the stories. Wish For a Fish did not disappoint, we loved it just as much as the others. The books starts out with a look at the levels of the ocean: Sunny Zone, Twilight Zone, Dark Zone, and Abyss/Trench. In the Sunny Zone it covers the food chain, characteristics of fish, how they breathe, sharks, manatees, whales, etc. The Twilight Zone section discusses sperm whales and giant squid. The Dark Zone covers eel and fish with their own lights. The abyss covers both the animals and ocean floor. Then last is the Trench and animals that live there…
“Giant clams and tube worms
have enough things to eat
because this deep spot
has unusual heat.”
This book would have been great to use for our “Ocean Depth Map.” The map we looked at had several animals for each level, which was a little overwhelming. Cat in the Hat only has 2-3 which would have been much more realistic for us to recreate.
Somewhere in the Ocean
by Jennifer Ward
This was such a great book for opening circle! Even though I’m not much of a singer, I gave in and sang the song as I read through the book, per my son’s request. Sung to the tune of “Over in the Meadow” (which I’m not familiar with), the book counts from 1 to 10 as parents give direction to their offspring.
“Somewhere in the ocean drifting slowly in a line,
lived a mother jellyfish and her baby jellies nine.
‘Zap!’ said the mother. ‘We zap!’ said the nine,
so they zapped tasty tidbits as they drifted in a line.”
by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
This pictures book has very few words, but a powerful message. Two seals are playing ball in the ocean, when a 3rd seal appears on the beach. The books then explores 3 possibilities. The first is for one of the two playing to leave and play with the new friend. After showing how the left out seal would feel, the book asks “Or…” and provides another possibility. What if the two friends continued playing in the sea, ignoring the new seal on the beach? Of course that’s not any better so the final option is presented, all three seals playing together. While my almost-5-year-old is great at meeting and playing with new kids, this book was still an excellent dialogue for examining how each kid in a group feels. For a child who is struggling with excluding others, it would be even better!
Usborne Mysteries & Marvels of Ocean Life
Usborne books are fantastic resources, and this book is no exception. This very informative book is a great reference. We didn’t read it straight through, but it provides some great pictures and details about a variety of sealife.
Another great option that I discovered too late in our unit is: Big Blue Ocean
by Bill Nye the Science Guy. There are 12 short lessons, each followed up with an experiment. Had I found this gem earlier I would have integrated some of these into our lessons.