Elem. – Whale Fall: Exploring an Ocean-Floor Ecosystem

Stewart, Melissa. Whale Fall: Exploring an Ocean-Floor Ecosystem. Random House, Illustrated by Rob Dunleavey. 2023. 978-0-593-38060-4. unpaged. $18.99. Grades 2 and up.

Have you ever wondered what happens to sea animals when they die? Read this book to find out. When a whale dies, a new beginning for many sea animals is just beginning. This book details the animals that feast off a whale: zombie worms, squat lobsters, and sea cucumbers just to name a few.  This process can take up to 50 years! The end of the book includes more details about the species who feast on the whale as well as sources and further exploration books, photos, and videos.

THOUGHTS: I love a good nonfiction picture book! There is so much information to be shared with students.

577.7 Marine Ecology
Picture Book

Elem. – Habitat Hunter (Series NF)

Potts, Nikki. Habitat Hunter. Ill. Maarten Lenoir, Picture Window Books, 2020. 31 p. $132.24 set of 6. $21.99 ea. Grades PreK-2.

Frog Moves out of the Rain Forest. 978-1-977-11423-5. 
Goat Moves out of the Barnyard.
Meerkat Moves out of the Desert
. 978-1-977-11419-8.
Owl Moves out of the Forest. 978-1-977-11424-2.
Penguin Moves out of the Antarctic. 978-1-977-11422-8.
Shark Moves out of the Ocean.

“Meerkats, meerkats everywhere!” (1), and Meerkat is not happy about it.  She wants a new home she does not have to share, so she sets out to find her new home. Meerkat tries the mountains, but they’re too quiet. She tries a cave, but it’s too cold and has too many bats.  Next she tries a playground; it seems like a great home with all of the tunnels, but the slide is too hot, and the monkey bars are too high. After trying a garden, Meerkat decides her own home is the best home and returns to it.

THOUGHTSMeerkat Moves out of the Desert is a fun way for young readers to learn about meerkats. Combining both pictures and illustrations, readers learn about various homes for Meerkat while also learning why the new habitat isn’t quite right. In the end, Meerkat’s realization that her habitat is the best not only solidifies basic understanding of a meerkat, but it also teaches readers to appreciate their home and family and that something different is not always best.  This title, as with the other titles in this series, also includes a page about the highlighted animal (meerkats) and an “Animal Passport.” This title is also useful for teaching comparing and contrasting because of the various homes Meerkat considers.




Animals        Erin Bechdel, Beaver Area SD

Elem. – The Ocean : Exploring Our Blue Planet

Krestovnikoff, Miranda. The Ocean: Exploring Our Blue Planet. Bloomsbury Children’s Books, 2020. 978-1-547-60335-0. $23.99. Grades K-3.

The Ocean is a non-fiction book that focuses on different parts of the ocean, both underwater and above water areas. Each section is broken down into different parts of the ocean. For example there is a section about coastlines, shipwrecks, the polar seas and more. Each section has beautiful illustrations that definitely give an underwater feel to the book as you read. There is a table of contents page; however, there is no index or a glossary in the book, so the reader may need something additional to help them as they read if they are using this book for research.

THOUGHTS: Overall, this is a beautifully illustrated book that gives some more information about the oceans and different animals who live in and around the ocean. This book could not be the only book someone could use for research, but it does make a nice companion as well as a great book for those students who are always interested in learning more. This book makes a nice jumping off point.

551.46 Ocean          Mary Hyson, Lehigh Valley Charter Academy

Elem. – The Heart of a Whale

Pignataro, Anna. The Heart of a Whale. Philomel Books, 2020. $17.99. 978-1-984-83627-4. 32 p. Grades K-3. 

Whale has a beautiful song that soothes, cheers and calms all of the animals in the ocean. Even though whale’s song brings joy and love to many he was lonesome, noticing “how there was no song big enough to fill his empty heart.” One day, the whale is so forlorn he lets out a sigh that is carried by the ocean to another whale who travels far and wide to accompany him. United, the whales sing in unison “of happiness and hope, magic and wonder.” Brief text accompanied by soothing watercolor illustrations of marine animals cover each spread. 

THOUGHTS: A good picture book to begin a conversation with students about loneliness, kindness and friendships. Detailed illustrations alongside a musical theme offer STEAM connections to music and marine life units. 

Picture Book         Jackie Fulton, Mt. Lebanon SD