In honor of our trip to the Secret Lives of Seahorses exhibit yesterday (you can read about it here), here are both of our new sea horse books... and an old favorite.
Sea Horse: The Shyest Fish in the Sea is part of the Candlewick Press Read and Wonder series. Author Chris Butterworth uses the font size to differentiate between fact and fiction in her text. The large text tells the story of a Barbour's sea horse family - the father meets a mate, they have lots of baby sea horses, and a daughter swims away to start a life of her own. Smaller text indicates a sea horse fact related to the action in the main story. For example, when the father sea horse is hard at work delivering the babies, the small text reads, "Barbour's sea horses can have two to three hundred babies at one time." The story makes the world of sea horses accessible to young readers, and the lovely, subtle woodcut and vinyl engraving illustrations complement the text nicely.
I frequently use Bobbie Kalman's Life Cycle books in my primary science classes. They are a clear, easy to understand introduction to the life cycle of assorted animals. The Life Cycle of a Seahorse continues this tradition. Each double page spread addresses one element of the sea horse's life (topics include Out of the Pouch, Forming a Bond, and Eating Sea-horse Style).
"Sea horses are fish. Like all fish, sea horses are cold-blooded animals.The temperature of their bodies changes with the temperature of the water around them," begins a typical spread. Some bolded words are defined in the text while others appear in the glossary at the end of the book, along with an index. These features make the Life Cycle series good resources for teaching beginning research skills.
Finally, an old favorite. I love Jeanette Canyon's unusual polymer clay illustrations! When Owlet S was three and four, she loved running her fingers over them, even though the paper is smooth - the impression of depth is that strong. Author Marianne Berkes adapts the traditional counting rhyme "Over in the Meadow," transplanting it to a coral reef. Young readers meet "an old mother clownfish and her little clownfish three," "a mother angelfish and her little angels seven," and, of course, "an old father seahorse and his seahorses ten" ("Flutter, said the father./"We flutter," said the ten./So they fluttered all around/ In their turtle grass den.) Over in the Ocean in a Coral Reef also includes extensive back matter, including information about all of the animals included in the story, a fingerplay by the author to use during the read aloud, and polymer clay tips from the illustrator. The tune is also written out, but if you don't read music, or just want a reminder, here is Raffi's version of the source song,"Over in the Meadow."