Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Over in the Ocean: In a Coral Reef

Over in the Ocean: In a Coral Reef

Marianne Berkes
Illustrator:  Jeanette Canyon 
Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
Dawn Publications, 2004   ISBN: 1584690623

Far away, deep in the ocean, there is a mother octopus who has one child. The mother tells her offspring to “squirt,” which the little octopus does. In another part of the ocean “where the sea grasses” grow and flourish, there is a parrotfish mother with two of her babies. Together the fish “grind” the coral with their hard boney jaws. Swimming amongst the turtle grass there is a father seahorse who is carefully watching over his ten little youngsters. Busily the babies and their father “flutter” around the turtle grass.

For this extraordinary picture book, Marianne Berkes has created a rhyming text that that will help children to learn about ocean creatures and their babies. It also serves as a counting book.

The rhymes are beautifully complimented by the extraordinary three-dimensional polymer clay art that Jeanette Canyon is famous for. The colors are gorgeous, the textures are breathtaking, and children will be inspired to create their own underwater scenes.

At the back of the book, there is further information about ocean babies, coral reef communities, and coral reef animals. The author also provides musical readers with music so that they can turn the text in the book into a song if they wish. There are also tips from the author and the illustrator to help grownups make the best use of the book, and to show readers how the art in the book was created.