STEM Friday

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Books

Ocean Animals: Whales and Sharks

Over at Growing With Science blog today we have reviews of four new children’s books that feature ocean animals. Let’s take a look at two of them here.

The Blue Whale by Jenni Desmond is a delightful picture book that brings in the young reader through both the whimsical illustrations and relatable information.


The illustrations make this book shine. Desmond contrasts the relatively realistic forms of the whales in swimming in dark blue waters with children wearing bright colors doing fantastic things, like riding in a whale’s mouth. This is the type of book that children will want to spend time exploring every illustration and are likely to discover more with each reading.

The informational text shares fascinating facts, starting with how large an adult blue whale actually is, what whales eat, and what they sound like. The tone is just right, not only giving the information, but also keeping the reader’s interest.

The Blue Whale is a special picture book. Share it with a budding ocean scientist today.

In contrast is Extreme Animals: Sharks by Ben Grossblatt, a middle grade title that is basically a beginning field guide to sharks.


After introducing sharks with a few pages of general information about things like their anatomy and teeth, the book continues with a series of two-page spreads on different species of sharks. In addition to the familiar great whites and hammerheads, the author has included less popular species, such as the banded wobbegong and the goblin shark. Of course, no book about sharks would be complete without the largest fish in the world, the whale shark.

Each two-page spread includes facts about that particular shark, several color photographs and sidebars with fast facts, as well as maps where those sharks are found throughout the world. The tone is even and informational, not sensational at all.

Extreme Animals: Sharks is a good, solid introduction to shark identification and diversity. It would be perfect to accompany a trip to an aquarium or to the ocean, as well as units on ocean habitats.

Note:  Also included in the list is The Hungriest Mouth in the Sea by Peter Walters, which was previously reviewed here at STEM Friday by Sue.


STEM Friday

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Author: Roberta Gibson

My debut picture book, HOW TO BUILD AN INSECT came out April 6, 2021. Trained as a scientist, I blog about science and nature at Growing With Science and about children's books at Wrapped in Foil.

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