Geography was never my favourite subject at school but if our textbooks had looked anything like this beauty from Caryl Hart and Bethan Woollvin then I suspect I may have paid more attention!
At the start of this gorgeous rhyming story we hop on board a submarine with a little girl and her dog. Together we embark on a journey to see the world’s oceans, but this is no ordinary tour as the guides are the waters themselves.
First we meet the Arctic Ocean, who smiles as she speaks of her pride at being the smallest. She shows us her narwhals, her beluga whales and the polar bears who inhabit her ice. Next is the choppy Atlantic who tells us about her underwater mountains and hidden caves. Our submarine glides past blue fin tuna in the Indian Ocean, sea snakes in the Coral Sea and millions of pieces of plastic in the Pacific.
We all need a little bit of calm in our lives right now so I wanted to highlight this gorgeous immersive story which we received towards the end of last year.
Inspired by hypnobirthing, ‘Kaiholo the Whale’ combines words, watercolour illustrations and music to great effect. You scan the QR code on the first page with your phone or tablet to access the music and then read the story whilst it plays in the background. It’s a simple concept but it’s very effective.
The gentle rhyme tells the story of a family of whales as they explore the ocean and sing their songs together. They are a tight, loving family unit and baby Kaiholo worries about what would happen if they were ever separated. His mother explains that they will always be there to protect him, but if they find themselves apart he must look for the light of the stars in the night sky and listen for their voices. The strength of their love will always bring them back together.
Ivy loves books which require a little bit of audience participation and this is one of her current favourites!
At the start of the story we join Crab as he sets off on an adventure across the ocean floor. He needs some gentle coaxing and some assistance along the way though. Can your child help?
There is arm waving, finger tapping, book shaking, counting, tickling and lots, lots more. At one point crab even gets lost and you need to lift the flaps to find him!
This is such an entertaining book and Ivy returns to it again and again. The brightly coloured illustrations are wonderful and we spot new details every time we read it. It’s a great way of introducing kids to life on the sea bed and Crab encounters lots of different creatures which are fun to identify, including an octopus, sea turtles and clown fish. Ivy was also fascinated to discover that crabs shed their shells in the same way that snakes shed their skin!
This mesemerising, rhyming picture book examines the devastating effect that climate change is having on our planet and asks childen to consider how they might be able to play their part in preserving our future.
In the Arctic, ice is melting. In Queensland, the coral reefs are being bleached white. In the rainforest, trees are being chopped down. In Uganda, the earth is parched from lack of rain. But what can we do? We are so small so how can one person’s actions possibly change the world?
The answer is to rise like the ocean. Each of us is just a raindrop but even raindrops cause a ripple when they land. With enough momentum, ripples can grow in to waves and waves can create real, lasting change.
As the rain beats down on a sandy beach, Little Turtle pushes her way up and out of her nest and gets her first view of the world. Instinctively she moves quickly towards the waves and soon she finds herself swimming in the ocean which will become her home.
As she grows and becomes more confident she marvels at the beauty she sees around her. The bright colours, glittering shoals of fish and reefs teeming with life all delight her senses and make her feel so happy to be alive. The ocean is her very best friend.
When Turtle matures she returns to the beach where she was born to release her own clutch of eggs on the sandy shore. She makes this journey many times and she loves the fact that each journey is different because her beautiful ocean is always changing, always offering something different for her to behold.
Seahorses are special because, unlike most animals, it is the male of the species which gets pregnant. When it’s time to mate he puffs out his tummy and the female lays her eggs in a little pouch where they are then fertilised. He carries the eggs until the baby seahorses are ready to be born.
This beautiful board book follows Mister Seahorse from conception to birth as he meets a whole host of other sea creatures who are preparing for the arrival of their own little ones. As we follow his journey we discover that he is not unique and that many other male fish go to great lengths to keep their young safe.
Mr. Stickleback builds a nest for Mrs. Sticklebacks eggs and then hovers over it, protecting them. Mr. Tilapia carefully carries eggs in his mouth so they are safe from predators. Mrs. Kurtus lays her eggs on Mr. Kurtus’ head and he carries them there until they are ready to hatch. Mr Pipe has a line of eggs running right along his belly and Mr. Bullhead is the primary carer of his brood once they are welcomed in to the world.
When Sophie the baby sea otter learns about the horizon she is determined to swim all the way there. Her Mum warns her it’s impossible but Sophie thinks it doesn’t look that far, so she sneaks off on an epic journey.
On her travels she finds a magnificent lighthouse, befriends a walrus, meets a whale and dives deep under the water to swim with colourful tropical fish – but no matter how far she travels that pesky horizon eludes her.
As night falls Sophie realises that perhaps her Mum was right. Tired and alone, she bristles with fear when she spots a mighty ship heading in her direction. She has swum so far, how will she ever make it home?
At the moment, if you ask Ivy to go and pick a book then this is the one she inevitably comes back with. We read it every day and she’s even made me construct a sparkly beard out of an old headband so she can pretend to be the main character!
The story is about a girl called Peg who is utterly fed up of living with her wicked Step-Great-Grand Auntie. Her only refuge from all the chores she has to do is her beloved collection of adventure books.
One day she takes the cat for a walk and discovers that the pirates have come to town and are looking for new recruits to help them find treasure. Seeing a way out of her miserable life, she asks if she can join them but they rudely refuse. They tell her that she’s too nice, too small and, most importantly, she doesn’t have a beard therefore she can’t ever be a pirate!
Brian is a piranha who loves nothing more than to tuck in to some fruit and veg – but his piranha friends think he’s bonkers because their favourite pastime is nibbling on tasty humans.
Brian’s attempts at converting them fall on deaf ears and soon they’re fed up with him waving bananas and plums in front of their faces. He agrees to stop but on one condition – they need to actually taste one of his fruit and veg platters. Will he be able to convince them to swap knees for peas or will they continue with their carnivorous ways?
Ivy finds this book hilarious, especially as it features the word ‘bum’. Always a winner with toddlers!
Sharing a Shell by Julia Donaldson & Lydia Monks is a lovely little book about sharing and friendship, which we have read over and over again.
The story is about a little hermit crab who is looking for a new home. He finds a lovely shiny shell and moves right in but then he meets an anemone who wants to move in too! He really doesn’t want to share his shell but the anemone explains that he can help ward off predators so will earn his keep. The crab reluctantly agrees and soon realises that having the anemone around is really helpful and they are very happy living together. Then up rocks a bristleworm who also wants to move in. Again, the crab isn’t keen but relents when he realises that the bristleworm will keep the shell nice and clean.