December 22, 2010

Oceans & Seas

By Margaret Hynes

Kingfisher, 2010

ISBN #978-0-7534-6415-1

Grades 4 to 7


“From the seashore to the deepest depths, oceans are home to the most diverse life on Earth. Plants are found only in the sunlit parts of the ocean. Animals are found at all depths, though more than 90 percent of all marine species dwell on the seabed, where a single rock can be home to as many as ten major groups of animals, such as corals, mollusks, and sponges.”

In another life I would be a marine biologist and this book confirmed that idea. In the new series, Navigators, Oceans and Seas is an in-depth look at the life in and around the oceans. It defines oceans and seas and provides information about the physical as well as life science of marine environments. Including archaeology, ecology, biomes, coastlines, Pangea, deep-sea exploration and the future of oceans, the layout is filled with facts and visually appealing art, diagrams, and photos.

I had great fun poring over this book and students will, too. The appealing cover holds a sea tortoise, along with colorful fish and a puffin. The art is stunning and catches the reader’s interest from the introductory information through the final back matter, which includes a large glossary, index, and final page of investigations.

Aimed at the middle ages, this book should be in every library. It’s comprehensive, fits with the science standards, and contains facts in a layout that is reader friendly, allowing the reader to go from cover to cover or select specific topics or sections. It’s a gorgeous book and the reasonable price makes it within the reach of library budgets. Take a look at this one. It fills a need for that middle group of readers—interesting and appealing.

Activity 1

Look up waves and study the physics of wave motion. Write a paragraph to explain the energy transfer from the wind to the water. Design a simple wave machine to show the action of waves.

Activity 2

Look up the destructive force of waves. Find two or three ways waves change coastlines and report on them, giving true life examples of their force.

This site has good information about the physics of waves.

This site has some interactive activities on waves.

National Science Standard: motion and forces; transfer of energy

Book provided by publisher.


July 28, 2010

Ocean Soup

Tide-Pool Poems

By Stephen R. Swinburne

Illustrated by Mary Peterson

Charlesbridge, 2010

Ages: elementary grades



The Soup That Bites

“Tide-pool soup is really good,

A most delicious snack.

But careful! When you take a bite,

This soup might bite you back.

Crabs will pinch and urchins poke,

It’s rough out there—no joke!”

 This book of rollicking poems presents ten tide-pool animals in witty, irreverent poems, with a section of brief facts about the animal spaced in between the bright, cartoony illustrations. After an introduction to the tide pool with a poem and facts, the animals presented include barnacles, sea slugs, sea urchins, sculpins, mussels, starfish, hermit crabs, anemones, lobsters, and octopus. The book ends with an explanation of plankton and back matter includes a glossary, author’s note, and resources.

Tide pool animals aren’t often the inspiration for poetry, and the fun, humorous treatment of this group of animals should appeal to a range of kids. The book would be a good way to introduce children to the animals in a tide pool or before going to an ocean museum. Good readers might prefer to read it on their own. The language in the fact section is definitely for upper elementary science and would be a great way to open a science lesson on habitats or invertebrates. I can also see it done as a Reader’s Theater or class presentation–picture the costumes. Tide Pool poetry isn’t the usual science or poems, and that’s what  makes this book a fun choice.

Activity 1

Look up information about the tides. Explain why the level of water changes in the intertidal zone.

Enchanted Learning has simple tide information.

This site has more tide information.

Activity 2

Create a chart showing the zones of the tide pool. Write a description of the changes that take place in a tide pool.

Learn more about tide pool animals here.

This virtual tide-pool shows more and includes how the animals are adapted to their habitat.

Check out Nonfiction Monday at Three Turtles and Their Pet Librarian for more great books.

National Science standard: organisms and environment; characteristics of organisms

Book provided by publisher.


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