The Ocean Emporium by Susie Brooks and Dawn Cooper

An emporium is a place where you can view a large variety of things.

So the title ocean emporium is the perfect title to open children’s eyes to the abundance of amazing creatures that live within.

With 24 different categories, each double page spread allows the reader to learn about the different animals that swim in our abundant waters. With stunning illustrations not only will the reader read the facts, they will also see the creature in all of its glory.

We were amazed as we  learnt about 8 different jellyfish and the way they all move, help each other and protect themselves.

Dolphins leapt off the page at us and we were very impressed with the pink colours of the Chinese White Dolphin.

Even coral had a mention – the truly amazing living thing that it is, and we learnt about  the different latin names they have and ways that they grow.

The Ocean Emporium  by Susie Brooks and Dawn Cooper is a book to allow children to leap into non-fiction and really whet their appetite for deeper knowledge.

The illustrations are full of colour and there is just enough information for young readers to enjoy without being overwhelmed.

The Ocean Emporium is a wonderful journey to embark upon as you’ll discover secrets, learn new information and most importantly realise how important it is to take care of the world around us.

So what else can you do with this book?

Visit:

Visit your local waterway and discover what swims beneath the surface.

Go to local museums, aquariums and science spaces to learn more.

Act:

Buy less fish – the less we buy, the smaller the demand and the less sea creatures getting caught in nets unnecessarily

Ask: 

  • Choose a creature or a group of creatures and learn more about them.
  • Find out which of these animals live in the oceans near you.
  • Are any of these animals endangered? What can we do to help them?
  • Can you create an insect emporium? Monotreme? Mammal? Marsupial? Sky emporium?
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Esme’s Wish by Elizabeth Foster

If you had one wish what would it be?

Esme Silver lost her mother 7 years ago and has just witnessed her father remarry a women she doesn’t like at all. She is not only upset at her father for remarrying but also upset that he wants to move on when she can’t. Her mother went missing 7 years ago for no apparent reason and it is this unknowing that draws Esme to a small cottage she has been told to avoid for the last 7 years after her father and his new wife depart on their honeymoon.

Not only does Esme discover more about her mother, she also discovered another world – and this world has many more links to her mother than she would like to think.

When Esme steps into this other world, she makes many true and good friends in the city of Esperance who help her to find out what has happened to her mother. She shows determination, clever thinking and a strong will as she journeys through a city which constantly surprises her with it’s twists and turns around every corner.

Esme’s wish is a marvellous story and a definite page turner. It is full of magic and wonder,imagination and marvel, creativity and friendship. Not only does Esme travel Esperance to find her mother, she travels through it to also save the city from certain destruction.

Esme’s wish by Elizabeth Foster is a book for readers aged 11 and up and perhaps one that may have a sequel….who knows? Perhaps I will have to ask Elizabeth Foster herself…..

So what else can you do with this book?

– Draw a map of Esperance and surrounding islands after you have read the book

– Make a list of the different gifts people can have. How do people have gifts in our world? Are they as revered as they are in this story? Are all gifts equal in this world and our own?

– What is a pearl made out of? Why are they precious? Can you find any stories throughout history related to pearls?

– As you read list the metaphors and similes and other types of figurative language. This book is rich in this type of language and a great way to study how you can add more to your writing.

There are so many more wonderful activities to do with this book – it’s a great book to share or read as a group!

The secret of Black Rock by Joe Todd-Stanton

Do love reading myths, legends and folk tales?

Have you ever wondered how those tales came to be?

The secret of Black Rock by Joe Todd-Stanton is an adventurous folktale in which a young girl named Erin is on a mission to find out more about Black Rock.

With determination, every day she attempts to stow away on her mother’s fishing boat, always getting sniffed out by her dog until the day she outsmarts him and sails off hidden aboard.

As the boat sails on, a fog descends and through that Black Rock emerges. Erin, too busy staring at the towering rock doesn’t hold on tight enough and a wave knocks her overboard.

She sinks deeper and deeper but she soon discovers that the Black Rock is in fact a living thing – and it saves her life.

Erin then realises how alive with life Black Rock is and is determined to save it from being destroyed by the fishing village.

Will Erin succeed in teaching the adults how important this rock is to their ocean? And how much they need this if they are to continue to fish for food and income?

The illustrations are filled with colour and the detail in each page will encourage you to look deeper into each picture. The full page spreads enlighten and the circular images – give the reader different viewpoints on what is going on.

The Secret of Black Rock is a tale which will make you think about those inanimate objects that you might think do nothing. Take the time to have a closer look and see what life, no matter how small, lives there and how it plays a role in the world around it.

 

So what else can you do with this book?

Sustainability

  • Explore life underwater. Take the time to note which animals are drawn into this story. Can you name them all? Which ones would you like to learn more about?
  • Explore creatures that live on or around rocks in the ocean. Why do they all live here? Where else might these living things live?
  • Have there been any incidences where rocks have been removed from the ocean and therefore affected the life that lives around or on it?
  • How can we help others to become aware of smaller ocean plants and animals and the important role they play?

Literacy

  • How does the design of this book – and the title – capture your attention. (Look at the  titles, layout of the front and back cover and the inside cover pages. )
  • Compare this story to graphic novels. How does this reflect the style of a graphic novel and how would this story be told differently if it were just a story?
  • There are many adjectives in this story – find as many as you can.
  • What is a folktale? Myth? Explore and share some.

 

At the beach I see by Kamsani Bin Salleh

The beach is one of my favourite places to go to. The warm sand, the crashing of the waves and the smell of the ocean. I love swimming too – but only when it is warm enough!


At the beach I see by Kamsani Bin Salleh and published by Magabala Books, is a vibrantly illustrated board book which young children will adore. On each page the reader is treated to a visual delight – not only are the different animals or plants of the sea coloured in life-like colours, they also have intricate designs on them – which we loved looking at.

The designs on each creature really highlighted the fact that although these underwater dwellers may look the same, they – like us, are all so very different.

Each watery page also exposes the reader to creative adjectives that describe how the  ocean animal or plant moves in or above the water.

Babies, toddlers, preschoolers and even young school children will love reading this book. It is easy to read, alive with colour and full of amazing sea creatures!

So what can you do with this book?

  • Visit the beach, a river, dam – whatever local waterway you can and look at the different plants and animals that reside there. Take your sketchbook down and draw the animals. Look at how they live, what they might eat and where they hide.
  • Explore the adjectives used in this book, how else can these animals and plants be described?
  • Look at the patterns Kamsani Bin Salleh has used. Explore different types of lines – waves, circles, spots, straight lines, curvy lines, spirals, dashes, zig zags. Create your own art using these lines. A great way to do this is to cover paper in paint and then scratch lines into the paint – a great sensory experience.
  • Look at some more great Young Art books published by Magabala Books.
  • For older readers – How can we take better care of the beach so these animals can continue to thrive in a pristine environment? Think of at least one thing you can do (less chemicals down the drain, pick up some rubbish at the beach, leave shells behind, buy less plastic)

 

What do you love about the beach? 

 

 

Aquatica: a beginner’s field guide by Lance Balchin.

Before the earth’s environment collapsed, under the weight of industrial pollution and radioactive waster, the oceans teemed with an abundance of life. 

It’s now 2200 and all that moves now is only mechanical…..


Aquatica is the second book by Lance Balchin which explores a future where all animals and insects as we know them now are long extinct and all that we have are mechanical creatures.

Aquatica explores a world filled with aquatic animals who have evolved from robotic drones into free thinking, dangerous attackers. Life in 2200 is dangerous yet amazingly interesting.

The protagonist Liberty Crisp, aged 15, is on a mission to document each of these species and try to befriend them so the world does not destroy itself even more than it has.

You can spend hours looking at the details of each mechanical creature and reading the detail of it’s habitat, speed and lifestyle. Lance Balchin ignites our imagination and makes the reader ponder the future – what do we want it to look like for our children?

So how can you use this book at home? 

 – Revisit Mechanica and the activities included.

 – Visit a nearby water way and investigate the different living species that live within this environment.

 – Look at what you put down your drain at home – could any of this effect marine life?

 – Make your own Aquatica creature  and test to see if it can live in water.

 – Look at organisations such as WWF, Greenpeace and see how they help our oceans.