Manfish: A story of Jacques CousteauEven as a little boy, Jacques Cousteau loved the water. He dreamed that he could fly underwater. He was also fascinated by machines, taking apart and inventing all types of gadgets. As a young man, he started to dive underwater, but he wanted to stay under water longer than just one breath at a time. So he invented the aqualung to help him breathe under water. "Below the surface, Jacques swam and glided and dove. He did flips and somersalts. He stood upside down on one finger, and laughed bubbles into the sea."
written by Jennifer Berne, illustrated by Eric Puybaret
CA: Chronicle Books, 2008.
ages 5 - 8
The beautiful illustrations in Manfish will enchant readers and invite them to learn more about our ocean life. As Jacques explores the depths of the ocean, readers open a verticle double spread, so they get the feeling of diving deep, deep down into the ocean. Perfect for kids in 1st and 2nd grade.
in the swimin the swim, is a book of poems and paintings by Douglas Florian. It's full of short, funny poems about all sorts of sea animals and fish. One of my favorite poems is:
poems and paintings by Douglas Florian
CA: Harcourt Brace & Co., 1997.
ages 4 - 7
The PiranhasKids will laugh at the different poems and paintings Florian creates. Another favorite explains the sawfish: "My spendid saw's/ for goring fishes-/ I eat them raw/ And don't do dishes." For a fuller look, check out Google Books where you can preview some of the artwork with their poems.
It's widely known
That grown piranhas
Are long on teeth
But short on manners.
(c) Douglas Florian
Hotel Deep, Light verse from dark water, provides a different poetry experience of ocean animals - a bit more complex, but also very evocative.
Hotel Deep: Light verse from dark waterKurt Cyrus paints detailed scenes of ocean life, full of action and movement. Hotel Deep contains 22 linked poems that loosely tell the story of a sardine that has been separated from the rest of the school of fish, and now explores the ocean deep all by himself. Here is a favorite of mine. The sardine is swimming past some rocks on the ocean floor.
Poems and paintings by Kurt Cyrus
FL: Harcourt, Inc. 2005
ages 7 - 10
I'm a stone. A simple stone,
overgrown with crust and week.
You can see I'm just a stone.
Not a stonefish. No, indeed!
Just a random chunk of rubble
At the bottom of the sea.
I'm as harmless as a bubble.
Who could be afraid of me?
Trust your eyes. I'm just a stone.
Come in closer. Then you'll see.
Kids will love pouring over the paintings in this book, finding all the hidden surprises. I found it a little hard to follow these poems as a clear story of what happened to the little sardine, but they did contain lots of fun surprises. The poems worked much better when I dipped into individual ones and shared them with kids.
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