"The best children's stories are wisdom dipped in art and words." -Peter Reynolds

Saturday, April 12, 2014

First Big Book of the Ocean

First Big Book of the Ocean by Catherine D. Hughes was published in 2013 by the National Geographic Society. The book is split into sections for each of the oceans: Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, and Arctic, and includes animals found in that ocean. Some of the animals are likely to be very familiar to children such as the sea otter, walrus, and great white shark. But there are numerous less common animals as well that the children are bound to enjoy, such as the yellow-bellied sea snake, long-spine porcupinefish, and lion's mane jellyfish! The introduction page gives a sensational explanation on how to use the nonfiction text features in this book. Why don't all information children's books have this guide?!

The photographs are bright, lively, and beautiful! The backgrounds of each page are also bright and perfectly contrast the photographs. The font is black throughout the book but with lots of colored text boxes overlapping. There is a perfect, organized balance of text, color, and shape on every page. I didn't feel overstimulated at all!

At the end of the text there are Parent Tips for every parent including games and activities to conduct with their children. This is followed by a large, two-page spread of a world map. Each continent and ocean is labeled and there is a corresponding text box that identifies which animal lives in which ocean. The glossary and index are both very organized and child-friendly to manipulate. This nonfiction text could be easily enjoyed by all elementary aged children! Although the younger students will definitely need assistance decoding and comprehending some of the larger ocean specific vocabulary words.

On the back title page is the dedication of the book. Normally I wouldn't focus too much on the dedication but I found this one to be extremely touching and beautiful. It reads:
"Dedicated to Ana, Allison, Avielle, Benjamin, Caroline, Catherine, Charolette, Chase, Daniel, Dylan, Emilie, Grace, Jack, James, Jesse, Jessica, Josephine, Madeleine, Nash, and Olivia, the Sandy Hook Elementary School teachers and staff who bravely tried to protect them, and their loving families." Is that not cause enough to buy this book?

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