Book List of Five Picturebooks About the Sea
The Children’s Book Review
What to Expect: Sea, nature, exploration, friendship, determination, learning.
Humans have always been fascinated by the ocean, and there seems to be a natural connection between the sea and the art of storytelling. In these five picture books, the sea is a source of learning and wonder, exploration and self-discovery.
Here are five picture books about the sea for preschoolers and kids of all ages:
Written and illustrated by Piret Raud
Ages: 3+ | 32 Pages
Publisher: Thames & Hudson (2021) | ISBN-13: 9780500652138
What would we do without the sea? This is the question the sea creatures are forced to ask in Piret Raud’s The Sea, when the sea decides she needs some peace and quiet away from her family – and she gets up and leaves!
At first, it’s fun having no sea to tell them what to do, but without the sea to read them their bedtime story, the fish soon wish she’d come back. This is a story about families, compromises, and the importance of reading. Unique, abstract illustrations in a limited color palette give the story a folkloric quality, as does the simple text, which uses dialogue to engage the reader in the fishes’ dilemma. This gentle moral tale has a timeless quality that young and old readers alike will enjoy.
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Written and illustrated by Gill Mclean
Ages: 4-8 | 32 Pages
Publisher: Jolly Fish Press (2023) | ISBN-13: 9781631636981
Jack is a very adventurous terrier, who loves to seize any opportunity to escape from his owners and run off to explore. However, when Jack’s curious nose leads him away from home, down to the harbor, and onto the deck of a departing fishing boat, he may well come to regret not listening to his master calling him home! Told from the point of view of the dog, this story is both a sea-voyage adventure and a cautionary tale about wandering too far. The rhyming text and dynamic, colorful illustrations pull readers along on Jack’s journey, inviting them to enjoy the return home as much as he does.
Jack the Runaway Terrier is exciting, beautiful, and perfect for shared reading.
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Written by Gill Arbuthnott
Illustrated by Christopher Nielsen
Ages: 5-8 | 80 Pages
Publisher: Big Picture Press (2021) | ISBN-13: 9781536229745
How much do you know about the ocean? From the mythical creatures said to inhabit its depths, to the boats we have developed for exploring it and the sunken cities that hide beneath its waves, there is so much to find out and explore when it comes to the seas and oceans of planet earth.
From Shore to Ocean Floor takes readers on a journey of maritime learning, providing facts and stories about everything sea-related. Detailed, colorful cartoon-like illustrations bring the deeps to life for readers, as well as illustrating key scientific concepts. Overall, this book is a great resource for budding marine biologists.
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Written and illustrated by Laurie Smollett Kutscera
Ages: 4-8 | ?? Pages
Publisher: Peter Pauper Press (2021) | ISBN-13: 9781441337627
Maya and her sister Alina don’t have much, but what they do have is the ocean and the treasures it provides. With the shells washed up by the sea, the two girls make beautiful jewelry to sell to the people of their village. Alina doesn’t want to use the ugly, broken shells, but inspired by her grandmother’s wisdom, Maya is determined to find just the right project to reveal their magic. She succeeds in a way no one would have expected, creating something that touches the lives of everyone on the island.
Told through simple text and bright, color-saturated illustrations, Maya’s Treasure is a story about finding beauty in unexpected places.
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Written by Beth Ferry
Illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal
Ages: 4-7 |
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (2020) | ISBN-13: 9780544707375
In Swashby and the Sea, an introverted, reclusive old Captain gets taught a gentle lesson about letting people in by his oldest and dearest friend, the sea. Captain Swashby likes the peace, quiet, and solitude of his home by the seaside, with just his dearest friend, the sea, for company. He is very put out when a little girl and her granny take the house next door and bring noise and chaos to his retreat. In desperation, he tries writing unwelcoming messages in the sand, but the sea “fiddles” with them just a bit, changing their meaning and using them to build friendships between the Captain and his new neighbors.
This is a simple, beautiful, heart-warming story told through softly-colored, pencil illustrations and enjoyable wordplay, ideal for summer reading.
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Header image from The Sea written and illustrated by Piret Raud, published by Thames & Hudson (2021).
The 5 Wonderful Picture Books About the Sea book list was curated by Dr. Jen Harrison. Discover more books like these titles by following along with our reviews and articles tagged with oceans, nature, exploration, and learning.