What is your favorite ocean-themed children’s book?

Summer is unofficially here and with that comes trips to the beach! To keep the theme going at home I am on a mission to discover new ocean-themed books to share with my little one. I compiled this list after some research and from your feedback on Facebook and Twitter. Please share by commenting below if you have a new book to add to the list. Also, scroll down and fill out the survey to share which one(s) are your favorite.

‘The Serpent Came to Gloucester’ by M.T. Anderson: (Ages 6 and up) Drawing on a true story, an award-winning author and illustrator present a picture-book tribute to the beauty and mystery of the ocean, and to the mesmerizing creatures that may frolic there.

‘Commotion in the Ocean’ by Gil Andreae: (Ages 3 and up)  The sequel to the best-selling “Rumble in the Jungle”, this delightful new collection of poems includes fun rhymes about the creatures who live in and around the ocean. Children will delight in the snappy poems and colorful illustrations about whales, walruses, penguins, polar bears, stingrays and sharks.

‘Over in the Ocean: In a Coral Reef’ by Marianne Berkes: (Ages 3 and up) This coral reef is a marine nursery, teeming with parents and babies! In the age-old way of kids and fish, children will count and sing to the rhythm of “Over in the Meadow” while pufferfish “puff,” gruntfish “grunt” and seahorses “flutter.”

A House for Hermit Crab‘ by Eric Carle: (Ages 5 and up) His modern-day fable is both wise and simple; based on the true habits of the hermit crab, it not only introduces young readers to the wonder and beauty of the marine environment but also contains an encouraging message for small children facing the inevitable challenges of growing up.

‘Mister Seahorse’ by Eric Carle: (Ages 2 and up) When Mrs. Seahorse lays her eggs, she does it on Mr. Seahorse’s belly! She knows he will take good care of them. While he swims waiting for the eggs to hatch, he meets some other underwater fathers caring for their babies: Mr. Tilapia, who carries his babies in his mouth; Mr. Kurtus, who keeps his on his head; and Mr. Catfish, who is baby-sitting his young hatchlings.

‘The Magic School Bus on the Ocean Floor’ by Joanna Cole: (Ages 4 and up) When Ms. Frizzle drives the Magic School Bus full speed ahead into the ocean, the class takes a submarine expedition that’s anything but ordinary. With a well-meaning lifeguard in tow, the class takes a deep breath and learns about hot water vents, coral reefs, plant and animal life on the ocean floor, and more!

‘Abby’s Aquarium Adventure Series’ by Heidi de Maine: (Ages 5-10) Stories that teach about different types of fish and how to remember their names easily, it also shows the kids what an aquarist does in his/her job at the aquarium.

‘The Disappearing Island‘ by Corinne Demas: (Ages 6-10) Carrie wonders about the mysterious island that her grandmother plans to take her to on her ninth birthday, a place that is visible only at low tide and the rest of the time remains a secret beneath the waves.

Crab Moon‘ by Ruth Horowitz: (Ages 6-10) June’s full moon casts an atmospheric glow over Kiesler’s (Old Elm Speaks, 1998) soft-focus shore scenes in this brief consciousness raiser.

‘A Day in the Salt Marsh’ by Kevin Kurtz: (Ages 5 and up) Enjoy A Day in the Salt Marsh, one of the most dynamic habitats on earth. Fun-to-read, rhyming verse introduces readers to hourly changes in the marsh as the tide comes and goes.

Carry on Mr. Bowditch‘ by Jean Lee Latham: (Grades 2 – 6) The story of a boy who had the persistence to master navigation in the days when men sailed by “log, lead, and lookout,” and who authored The American Practical Navigator, “the sailor’s Bible.”

‘Swimmy’ by Leo Lionni: (Ages 4 and up) Deep in the sea there lives a happy school of little fish. Their watery world is full of wonders, but there is also danger, and the little fish are afraid to come out of hiding . . . until Swimmy comes along. Swimmy shows his friends how—with ingenuity and team work—they can overcome any danger.

The Coast Mappers‘ by Taylor Morrison: (Grades 2 – 6) In the mid-nineteenth century, little was known of the west coast and waterways. The ships that sailed those waters did so at a considerable risk, sometimes depending on only a school atlas to navigate and all too often crashing into the rocks.

‘The Young Man and the Sea‘ by W. R. Philbrick: (Ages 9 and up) Award winner Rodman Philbrick’s powerful middle-grade novel is a story of determination and survival–of a boy’s exhilirating encounter with a fish that first nearly kills him but then saves his life.

‘Beach Day’ by Karen Roosa: (Ages 4 and up) In this charming picture book, a cheerful family tumbles out of the car and onto the beach, ready for a perfect day.

‘Hello Ocean‘ by Pam Munoz Ryan: (Ages 4-7) This rhyming picture book about the pleasures of a day at the beach goes through the day while using the sense.

‘I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean’ by Kevin Sherry: (Ages 4-7) When a giant squid takes inventory of all of the creatures in the ocean, he realizes that he?s way bigger than most of them! Of course, there are bigger things lurking around . . . but maybe this giant squid with a giant touch of hubris doesn’t really care?

‘The Suzanne Tate Nature Series‘ by Suzanne Tate: (Preschool – 4th grade) Suzanne Tate’s Nature Series is a unique series of 34 books about marine life. Teaching guides are available for books 1 through 28. In each colorfully illustrated book for early childhood (Pre-K-4), biologically accurate information is combined with an exciting story line. The books also promote self-esteem and environmental awareness.

The Boathouse Buddies Series’ by Karen Thomason and Ilene Baskette: (Grade 2 – 6) The Boat House Buddies deals with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in a series of ten books.

‘Far From Shore: Chronicles of an Open Ocean Voyage‘ by Sophie Webb: (Ages 9 and up) In extremely deep waters (two miles deep), the vast sea appears empty. But as naturalist and artist Sophie Webb shows us, it is full of fascinating—yet difficult to study—life. Together with her shipmates, Sophie counts and collects samples of life in the deep ocean, from seabirds to dolphins, from winged fish to whales.

‘Flotsam’ by David Wiesner: (Ages 4 and up) A bright, science-minded boy goes to the beach equipped to collect and examine flotsam–anything floating that has been washed ashore.

‘The Seashore Book‘ by Charlotte Zolotow: (Ages 3 and up) A young boy, who has never seen the sea, asks his mother to describe it. From there, Zolotow carefully chooses her words to create a poem full of the colors, sounds, and sights of a day at the beach.

The summaries and book covers can be attributed to the link associated with the title of the book.

Which book(s) are your favorite?

4 Comments on “What is your favorite ocean-themed children’s book?”

  1. Jody says:

    I’d like to write in “Albert the Albatross.” But, I will check out the others! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Stas Wnukowski says:

    The Adventures of Shecky the Baby Shark

    A Picture story book my brother and I recently finished (we’re trying to find a publsher now – know any that might be interested ?;)

    The Adventures of Shecky the Baby Shark

    Shecky always swam by his Mommy’s side.

    One day Mommy said, “Shecky, it’s time for you to swim alone. Never ever forget, great white sharks must swim to breath. You need to always keep swimming and remember, I will always love you.”

    Mommy nudged his nose, and dove down deep into the dark water.

    Shecky tried to follow her, but soon she was gone.

    “Why do I have to swim alone?” cried Shecky.

    “I don’t want to swim alone.”

    “I need to find a friend to swim with me.”

    So Shecky went on a quest to find a friend.

    Shecky spotted a sea turtle.

    “Maybe the sea turtle will swim with me.”

    So he swam over to the sea turtle as quick as he could.

    The sea turtle saw Shecky coming, and climbed up on a clump of floating sea grass.

    “Will you swim with me?” asked Shecky.

    “Do you have a sh-shell like m-mine?” stuttered Sea Turtle.

    Shecky shook his head no.

    “Then I c-cannot swim with you.” said Sea Turtle, “I’m t-tired and I need to t-take a nap.”

    “I guess I’ll have to find a different friend to swim with me,” sighed Shecky.

    Shecky searched some more. A few days later he saw a lobster.

    “Maybe the lobster will swim with me.”

    So he swam down to the lobster as quick as he could.

    The lobster saw Shecky coming, and instantly sat back on his tail and raised his two big claws.

    “Will you swim with me?” asked Shecky.

    “Do you have claws like these?” snapped Lobster.

    Shecky shook his head no.

    “Then I cannot swim with you. Now move. I am in a hurry and you are in my way.”

    Lobster pinched Shecky’s nose and moved off in a hurry.

    Shecky’s nose hurt, but that didn’t stop him from searching.

    A few weeks later, Shecky saw an octopus.

    “Maybe the octopus will swim with me.”

    So he swam over to the octopus as quick as he could.

    The octopus saw Shecky coming, and immediately spread his arms out wide.

    “Will you swim with me?” asked Shecky.

    “Do you have eight arms like I do?” waved Octopus.

    Shecky shook his head no.

    “Then I cannot swim with you,” said Octopus.

    Octopus squirted black ink into Shecky’s face, spurted away and shouted, “See you later.”

    But poor Shecky couldn’t see a thing.

    After the water cleared, Shecky spotted a herd of baby seahorses.

    “Maybe the baby seahorses will swim with me.”

    So he swam toward the baby seahorses as quick as he could.

    The baby seahorses saw Shecky coming, and his sharp shark teeth scared them.

    So they swooshed into the shelter of a coral cave.

    Shecky followed them, trying to squeeze inside the coral cave, but he couldn’t fit in.

    Shecky sadly swam away, and came across a crusty old crab.

    “Maybe the crab will swim with me.”

    So he swam down to the crab as quick as he could.

    The crab saw Shecky coming, and scurried to a pile of rocks.

    “Will you swim with me?” asked Shecky.

    “Do I look like I can swim?” crackled Old Crab, “Go away and leave me alone.”

    “You don’t have to be so crabby,” said Shecky.

    “Well, that’s what I am,” said Old Crab, then he crawled into a crack between the rocks.

    No one wanted to swim with poor Shecky.

    Sea Turtle had to take her nap and Lobster was in a hurry. Octopus squirted ink into Shecky’s face, and the herd of baby seahorses swooshed into a coral cave. Old Crab was just plain crabby.

    “Why won’t anyone swim with me?” cried Shecky, “I don’t want to swim alone.”

    Shecky had to search some more, so he swam south for a long time, and there he saw a penguin.

    “Maybe the penguin will swim with me.”

    So Shecky swam over to the penguin as quick as he could.

    “Will you swim with me?” asked Shecky.

    “Do you like to play and have lots of friends?” asked Penguin.

    “I never played,” Shecky said sadly, “and I don’t have any friends.”

    “Well, I have plenty of friends. Do you want to play with us?” asked Penguin.

    “Sure I do,” said Shecky.

    “Okay, then I’ll swim with you,” said Penguin.

    “You will? Really?” shouted Shecky.

    He and Penguin swam and played.

    Shecky was so happy.

    They swam up, they swam down, they swam in circles all around.

    “Let’s go meet my friends,” said Penguin.

    “Where are your friends?” asked Shecky.

    “They’re up there,” said Penguin, pointing to a hole in the ice above them.

    Penguin shot up through the hole and disappeared.

    “Oh no,” sniffled Shecky, “Just when I found a friend to swim with, she’s gone.”

    Penguin poked her head down through the hole and squealed, “What are you waiting for, we’re
    up here.”

    Shecky was so happy.

    He swam as fast as he could and shot up right through the hole.

    Shecky landed on the ice and saw a colony of penguins.

    “You’re lucky to have all these friends,” said Shecky.

    “You’re lucky too, Shecky, because they’re your friends now,” smiled Penguin.

    “Great, I have all these new friends,” said Shecky, “but I don’t feel so good.”

    “You don’t look so good either, Shecky,” said Penguin.

    “I need to go back into the water,” Shecky sobbed, “Mommy told me I must always keep

    Penguin tried to push Shecky back through the hole.

    “I can’t move you, Shecky, you’re too big,” cried Penguin.

    Penguin called her friends.

    All of the penguins rushed over and pushed Shecky back into the water.

    “Are you feeling better now?” asked Penguin.

    “Much better, and thank you all for saving me,” answered Shecky.

    Shecky sadly flipped his fin, waved goodbye, and off he went searching again.

    For months and months Shecky swam alone, searching for a new friend to swim with him.

    One day, while Shecky cruised the coral reefs, he sighted a pirate ship.

    “Maybe I can find a friend in the pirate ship who will swim with me.”

    Shecky searched everywhere inside that pirate ship, but he couldn’t find a friend to swim with him.

    Suddenly Shecky heard someone crying, “Help me. Help me.”

    Shecky called out, “Where are you?”

    “I’m trapped in the treasure chest,” came a weak voice, “please help me get out of here.”

    Shecky swam to the treasure chest as quick as he could.

    He shredded the treasure chest open with his sharp shark teeth, and a little Remora fish swam out.

    “How can I ever thank you for saving my life?” cried the little Remora.

    “Will you swim with me?” begged Shecky.

    “Will I swim with you? Of course I will swim with you! It would be an honor to
    swim with you.” replied Remora.

    Shecky was so happy.

    He finally found a friend to swim with him, but there was a little problem, Shecky swam too fast for Remora.

    “Shecky, slow down. I can’t keep up with you,” cried Remora.

    “I can’t slow down. I have to swim fast to breathe,” said Shecky.

    “Can I hold on to you then?” asked Remora.

    “Sure, hop on and hold tight.”

    And from that day on, Shecky and Remora always swam together.


    Possible addendum

    Shecky saw a starfish.

    Maybe the starfish would swim with him?

    So Shecky swam down to the starfish as quick as he could.

    “Will you swim with me, Starfish?”

    “Are you a star?”, asked Starfish.

    Shecky shook his head no.

    “I’m not a star yet,” said Shecky, “but when an astute agent reads me, and then lots of Mommies tell their babies bedtime stories about me, and when Disney buys my rights, and The Brothers Wnukowski write an Oscar winning script, and millions of kids around the world have posters of me on their walls, and lunch pails with my picture on them, and soft cuddly stuffed toys that look just like me laying on their beds – well. Then I’ll be a star.”

    Starfish smiled, “Okay Shecky, if that happens, I’ll swim with you.”

    The Brothers Wnukowski hope you smiled, too ;)

  3. Ira McIntosh says:

    I’ll vote for “Into the Sea” by Brenda Z. Guiberson. It is a beautifully illustrated story of a sea turtle’s journey and life cycle.

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