Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Book Bunch: A SEAsonal Selection

Since my computer crashed early Monday morning, it looks like I'll have to write my post directly on blogger because the laptop I have available doesn't have any word processing program. Oh well, I think you may see some typos.
Recently, I wrote reviews of two sea-themed books: Into the A, B, Sea and What the Sea Saw. I've got reviews of three more books about the sea. These are nonfiction picture books about tidepools.


Written by Anthony D. Fredericks

Illustrated by Jennifer DiRubbio

Dawn Publications, 2002

Fredericks takes a non-typical approach with his nonfiction text. This book is a cumulative tale told in verse about a young girl observing the creatures in a tidepool: barnacles, fish, anemones, a blood-red sponge, crabs, snails, limpets, and a sea star. The names of all the creatures mentioned in the text are written in bold print throughout the book. This will be a help with word recognition--especially for children who are encountering these words for the first time.

Here is an excerpt to give you a flavor of the author's text:

Anemones with stinging cells

Hold fast to rocks and empty shells,

Friends to fish that dart and hide

And find their food in the surging tide,

Near barnacles with legs so small

That waved at the girl that watched them all.

In one tidepool, fun to explore,

A web of life on a rugged shore.

At the end of IN ONE TIDEPOOL, Fredericks includes a section called Field Notes, which contains information about the animals in the book. The author notes that all of the animals can be found on both coasts of North America--but that the specific species illustrated in the book live on the West Coast. He also provides a list of recommended books about seashore ecology. This is a good book for reading aloud to very young children to introduce them to the varied life that exists in tidepools.


Written by Alexandra Wright

Illustrated by Marshall Peck III

Charlesbridge, 1992

AT HOME IN THE TIDE POOL is the most typical nonfiction book of the three reviewed here. Information about animals that inhabit tide pools is given in clear, concise prose. Each two-page spread has a large color illustration, smaller spot illustrations of sea creatures that are labeled for identification, and one, two, or three short paragraphs of factual text. This book goes into more detail about tide pool creatures, their movements, and behavior. It also has a more advanced vocabulary. AT HOME IN THE TIDE POOL provides a good overview of the subject.

Here is an excerpt from the book:

The starfish wraps itself around a mussel and uses its rows of suckers to pry apart the two halves of the mussel shell. The starfish will push its own stomach out through its mouth and into the mussel. After it eats the mussel, the starfish pulls its stomach back where it belongs!


Written by Kathleen Kudlinski

Illustrated by Lindy Burnett

NorthWord, 2007

Kudlinski's book focuses on the effect the changing tides have along the coast and on the creatures who live near the shore. In this book, we see a young boy adventuring out with his notebook and pencils and paints. Evidently, he is a young scientist prepared to record the natural wonders he'll observe in the sand, in the ocean, and in shallow tidal pools. The author's lyrical text has rhythm and repetition that echo the movement of the ocean and the changing tides. Burnett's gouache illustrations with their shifting perspectives and use of light capture well the body language of an inquisitive child, the sunlight shimmering in shallow waters, and the passage of a day from dawn into evening.

Here's an excerpt from the book:

Snails hide in their shells
in the shadows until...
surging, submerging, the tide rolls in.
Then the snails slither out,
scouring food from the rocks.

In addition to surging and submerging, Kudlinski uses other pairs of rhyming words to describe the movement of the incoming sea: curling, swirling; creeping, seeping; crashing, splashing; gushing, rushing. The author also describes the movements and actions of gulls and sea creatures with verbs such as the following: soar, dart, peck, scamper, scurry, stretch, poke, pinch, slurp, dart, nibble, flee, slither, hover, dip, wilt, circle. She has chosen her words well.

THE SEASIDE SWITCH would be a fine book to read aloud to a young child before setting out for a day at the beach...or after a day spent investigating the creatures that inhabit the shallow waters and the tide pools along the coast.


Anonymous said...

Elaine, these are perfect for our summer. Thank you!

Elaine Magliaro said...


I hope you and your son like the books.

I realized when I reread this post that I must have accidentally deleted a number of sentences. I'm not used to working on a computer without a mouse. And writing my posts directly on blogger is difficult for me. I miss having a word processor.