Mix N' Match Monday: Ocean Creatures

I'm the Biggest Thing in the Ocean
by Kevin Sherry
Dial Books for Young Readers, 2007.
Grades K-2
Reviewed from personal copy

The giant squid is delighted to inform readers that he is "biggest thing in the ocean."  He is bigger than the shrimp, the clams, a crab, and a jellyfish.  He continues on comparing himself to various other ocean-dwelling creatures until he comes up against something that causes him to change his statement, but only slightly.

This book presents itself as a great read-a-loud.  The kids can guess at the upcoming animals as they get bigger.  The illustrations are bright and colorful and not too busy, perfect for kindergartners or 1st graders.  The surprise ending may even elicit gasps of surprise or giggles.  This book goes perfectly with Steve Jenkin's Down, Down, Down: A Journey to the Bottom of the Sea.

Down, Down, Down: A Journey to the Bottom of the Sea
by Steve Jenkins
Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2009.
Grades K-5
Reviewed from personal copy

Jenkins delights the eyes with his beautiful cut paper collage as he introduces the reader to some of the creatures that live in the ocean.  While Sherry follows a pattern of size, Jenkins uses a pattern of depth.  He starts with creatures that live on the surface of the ocean including the Portuguese Man-of-War (jellyfish) and an albatross (sea bird).  Next he presents creatures who live under the surface but routinely leap from the water including favorites like the great white shark and dolphins.  He continues the pattern as he goes deeper into the ocean and the creatures get stranger and stranger.  Each page contains a brief description of the animals presented with additional information available in the end notes.  A great presentation from a very talented illustrator.

Put these books together for a 'swimming' story time. I plan to use them with my first graders.  I expect they will have much to say about both of these books and I would be surprised if I didn't have check out requests afterwords.


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