For STEM Friday, we have four new children’s books about ocean animals that were nominated for the 2015 Cybils award in the Elementary/Middle Grade Nonfiction category, each with its own unique voice and intended audience.
Hungriest Mouth in the Sea, The by Peter Walters explores ocean food webs.
Follow the animals in the ocean to find out who is at the top of the ocean’s food web. Young children will be intrigued by this mystery told in rhyming text. The collage illustrations have interesting textures to explore, as well.
The best part of the book is that it has four pages of learning activities in the back matter, including a predator and prey matching game, plus food web cards to copy and cut out.
Hungriest Mouth in the Sea is a lively introduction to the concept of food webs and the interactions between ocean animals.
Related: Be sure to visit the Arbordale Publishing website for a link to a free 35 page .pdf Teaching Activity Guide to accompany this book (download at link in the right sidebar).
Paperback: 32 pages
Publisher: Arbordale Publishing (September 10, 2015)
Could a Shark Do Gymnastics?: …and other questions – Hilarious scenes bring shark facts to life! (What if a) by Camilla de la Bedoyere and illustrated by Aleksei Bitskoff is a fun picture book that compares what a shark can do with some common human activities, allowing children to easily relate to the information.
This factual book dances on the edge of fiction with cartoon illustrations of sharks in funny situations. A shark with 240 teeth going to the dentist? At its nonfiction core, however, the child will also learn many current facts about sharks, such as the fact that sharks don’t need a dentist because they continually grow new teeth. The facts are repeated to reinforce learning in a “Fact File” in the back.
Looking for a book to entice a reluctant reader? Could a Shark Do Gymnastics? is a perfect choice because it has all the elements needed to capture and hold a child’s attention. It would also be a wonderful choice for budding marine scientists, to accompany a trip to an aquarium, or of course, to accompany a trip to the beach,
Age Range: 3 – 5 years
Grade Level: Preschool – Kindergarten
Publisher: QEB Publishing (August 3, 2015)
The Blue Whale by Jenni Desmond is a whimsical picture book about blue whales that draws the reader in with relatable information.
The illustrations make this book shine. Desmond contrasts the relatively realistic forms of the whales in swimming in dark blue waters with children wearing bright colors doing fantastic things, like riding in a whale’s mouth. This is the type of book that children will want to spend time exploring every illustration and are likely to discover more with each reading.
The informational text shares fascinating facts, starting with how large an adult blue whale actually is, what whales eat, and what they sound like. The tone is just right, not only giving the information, but also keeping the reader’s interest.
The Blue Whale is delightful! Share it with a budding ocean scientist today.
Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Grade Level: Preschool – 4
Publisher: Enchanted Lion Books (May 26, 2015)
Extreme Animals: Sharks by Ben Grossblatt is essentially a field guide to sharks for the middle grade set.
After introducing sharks with a few pages of general information about things like their anatomy and teeth, the book continues with a series of two-page spreads on different species of sharks. In addition to the familiar great whites and hammerheads, the author has included less popular species, such as the banded wobbegong and the goblin shark. Of course, no book about sharks would be complete without the largest fish in the world, the whale shark.
Each two-page spread includes facts about that particular shark, several color photographs and sidebars with fast facts, as well as maps where those sharks are found throughout the world. The tone is even and informational, not sensational at all.
Extreme Animals: Sharks is a good, solid introduction to shark identification and diversity. It would be perfect to accompany a trip to an aquarium or to the ocean, as well as units on ocean habitats.
Age Range: 8 and up
Publisher: Silver Dolphin Books; Har/Pstr/T edition (July 14, 2015)
Want more books? See our growing list of children’s books about oceans (organized by age of reader) at Science Books for Kids.
Disclosure: The Blue Whale was provided by my local library. The books were provided by the publisher for review purposes. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.
Come visit the STEM Friday blog each week to find more great Science, Technology, Engineering and Math books.
What a great collection of watery habitat books – perfect for kids who want to dive into learning about what lives in the ocean.