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9 fun under-the-sea kid books

Under the Sea: Nine Books to Splash Around With

Are you spending your summer at the beach, the pool, or the spray-ground? With these heat waves across the country, there’s a good chance your swimsuit or at least your backyard hose is getting a lot of use this year.

But if you’re looking for a watery adventure that doesn’t require sunscreen, check out these 9 books about life in the water and near the ocean floor. Some of them are non-fiction, some of them are fantastical make-believe tales, and all of them are fabulous.

  1. Flotsam by David Wiesner.  David Wiesner is one of my very favorite authors (his books almost always make an appearance in my yearly picture book gift guide), and Flotsam is, in my opinion, his very best (it’s a Caldecott winner too).  A little boy finds a camera washed up on the beach, but that’s nothing compared to the surprise he gets when he develops the film. Brilliant, funny, and gorgeous.
  2. Manfish: A Story of Jacques Cousteau by Jennifer Berne and Eric Puybaret. Cousteau is famous for his pioneering underwater films as well as work on the development of scuba gear, and this book brings him to life, from boy to international filmmaker, beautifully.
  3. I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean by Kevin Sherry. About a giant squid who realizes everyone is pretty small compared to him, this is a perfect book for preschoolers, with its bright colors and big words.
  4. Encyclopedia Prehistorica: Sharks and Other Sea Monsters by Robert Sabuda and Matthew Reinhart. Do you know a child who can resist a pop-up book? I’ve never met one, and this book is packed just as full of interesting facts as it is pop-up illustrations.
  5. Dear Fish by Chris Gall. Peter Alan tosses a message in a bottle out to sea, inviting the ocean’s creatures to come ashore for a visit. Imagine his surprise when they take him up on the offer. (This book also has ten puns hidden in the story. Can you find them all?)
  6. Dolphin Baby by Nicola Davies and Brita Granstrom. This gorgeously illustrated book about baby dolphins is great for older kids who want to know all sorts of details about dolphins (like how they all have unique whistles, and how they learn to make them), but my two-year-old loved it too.
  7. Ocean Sunlight: How Tiny Plants Feed the Seas by Molly Bang and Penny Chisholm. If you want to know more about the food chains and life cycles of underwater dwellers, this is the perfect book.  This is science writing for children at its best.
  8. Swim! Swim! by Lerch. This silly book is written by the point of view of a fish who is getting lonely in his goldfish bowl and just wants a friend. But no one seems to be a good fit (those rocks? the bubbles? All of them won’t even respond to his queries for friendship).
  9. Star of the Sea: A Day in the Life of a Starfish by Janet Halfmann and Joan Paley. Who isn’t delighted by a starfish? This non-fiction tale of how a starfish lives its life is perfect for all ages.

Thanks Janssen!  Do you have a favorite “Under the Sea” book?  Share with us in the comments!

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Janssen is a former librarian and avid reader who is always maxing out her library card. She now stays at home with her two-year-old daughter (with another girl on the way) and blogs about books for readers of all ages, her favorite recipes, and parenting adventures at Everyday Reading.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

michelle July 31, 2013 at 12:54 pm

awesome list! my 6 year old daughter is completely obsessed with marine biology and we were just looking up books at the library on this topic yesterday! Two others we found yesterday that we liked are Animals of the Ocean (Kathleen Pohl) and Life in a Coral Reef (Wendy Pfeffer). Great idea for a list!

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