Move That Mountain, by Kate & Jol Temple/Illustrated by Terri Rose Baynton, (Sept. 2021, Kane Miller), $12.99, ISBN: 9781684642939
A companion “two sides to every story” adventure to 2019’s Room On Our Rock by Kate and Jol Temple and Terri Rose Baynton, Move That Mountain stars a group of puffins who react when a whale beaches on their island. Is the whale an immovable mountain menace that the puffins have to learn to live with? Or are the puffins motivated to mobilize and help a potential friend in need get back in the water? Read it one way to see how the story may appear on the surface, then read it back to front to see another story emerge. A story of teamwork, determination, and kindness, Move That Mountain encourages readers to look at situations from other points of view before arriving at conclusions. Excellent books to generate discussion, this book and Room On Our Rock are great additions to your storytime collections.
Little Whale, by Jo Weaver, (Oct. 2018, Peachtree Publishers), $17.95, ISBN: 9781682630495
Little Whale and Gray Whale are heading off to the North to join the rest of their family. It is not an easy journey, and Little Whale doesn’t know where this place called “home” is; the only thing he knows is that his mother is next to him, keeping him safe. Through underwater forests and midnight skies, cold and dark waters and menacing orcas, Gray Whale urges Little Whale on, keeping him safe and guiding him home, until they hear their family welcome them home.
Little Whale is as much a story for parents as it is for children. Gray Whale is a strong, silent presence, leading her little one through an exhausting journey. Little Whale is afraid of the unknown – he’s surrounded by it! – but implicitly trusts his mother. Like a child on a long journey, he often asks, “are we there yet?”, but Gray Whale never grows impatient; she just keeps swimming. Little Whale is also an exploration of the ocean: the gray-blue and white charcoal art reveals shadowy coral reefs, murky underwater plant life, schools of fish, and a mother guiding her baby on. A brief author’s note talks about gray whale migration.
A nice cuddle-time story that sea life fans will enjoy. See more of Jo Weaver’s artwork on her website.
Ocean Animals: Who’s Who in the Deep Blue, by Johanna Rizzo (May 2016, National Geographic Kids), $12.99, ISBN: 9781426325069
Recommended for ages 8-12
When you have a book featuring real life Dory on the cover and a Nemo on the first page of a book, you know NatGeo is paying attention to what kids like. Ocean Animals: Who’s Who in the Deep Blue is another home run from NatGeo Kids, combining breathtaking photos of ocean life (blobfish and anglerfish are breathtaking, if a bit in that gasp of “WHOA!” kind of way, after all) with interesting facts, information, and advocacy. Chapters are broken down by oceans of the world; the three layers the ocean, and the animals that inhabit them, featuring a great infographic; sharks and rays; marine mammals; a separate chapter on whales and dolphins; marine birds; ocean habitats; the Pristine Seas Project, and 20 Ways You Can Protect the Ocean. A glossary and index complete the volume.
I used this book as a companion to my ocean storytime today; it was great to be able to show the kids a beluga whale and an orca after we sang our song about whales. Saying the name over and over is one thing; seeing a picture of the real animal is another. I love NatGeo’s focus on advocacy, and how the organization empowers kids to take action to preserve their planet.
Sorry for the photo glare! Love this detailed infographic.
You all know I love NatGeo books, and now you know this copy’s already in my library. My little guy loves his copy; even though he’s only 4 years old, he loves looking at the photos, and I modify/paraphrase some of the information when he wants me to read it to him. This one’s a great selection for middle grade nonfiction collections and animal lovers.
Beautiful photo of a sea anemone
One Day On Our Blue Planet… In the Antarctic
, by Ella Bailey (April 2016, Nobrow), $16.95, ISBN: 9781909263673
Recommended for ages 3-7
Join an Adélie penguin chick as she gets breakfast from her mother and heads out into the giant world on her own! We see her jump into the water and swim, searching for food, encountering whales and seals, and making sure to avoid becoming someone else’s dinner! Along the way, readers learn about how penguins like our little Adélie friend will travel for years before returning to solid land, how penguin bodies develop to keep warm, what they eat, and meet other types of penguins and sea animals.
Adorable, child-friendly, cartoony illustrations introduce us to all sorts of sea life, including a warty squid porpoise, Antarctic krill, leopard seal, and humpback whale. This is a fun introduction to the Antarctic for young audiences, with an animal kids already love: Penguins! Books like this help turn kids on to nonfiction – pair it with some Salina Yoon
for a great penguin storytime, or have a nature read-aloud by pairing with the first book in the series, One Day On Our Blue Planet… In the Savannah
Ella Bailey is an illustrator and writer. You can see more of her illustrations at Ohh Deer, and you can see some more art from One Day On Our Blue Planet… In the Antarctic right here.
Blue Whale Blues, by Peter Carnavas (Kane Miller, Sept. 2015), $22.99, ISBN: 978-1610674584
Recommended for ages 3-7
Blue Whale is singing the blues about life’s little obstacles, but his friend Penguin is always there to cheer him up. Can the poor whale ever learn to laugh at himself and make lemonade out of life’s lemons?
This is an adorable story about something kids (and adults) will recognize right away – letting the little things get to you, and the importance of having a friend there to help you shake off the blues. Blue Whale sings about his “Blue Whale Blues”, but Penguin always jumps in with a better way of handling life’s little trials. Blue Whale Blues is about the importance of having a friend to boost you when you’re feeling down, but also the value in laughing at yourself – something Whale eventually learns. Preschoolers will love the cartoony art and the upbeat ending. Grownups, make up your own Blue Whale Blues tune and sing along – the kids will love it!
Blue Whale Blues is a fun addition to storytime and classroom libraries. It’s available through Usborne as well as through online retailers.