About Habitats – Oceans

By Cathryn Sill
Illustrated by John Sill

Outstanding Science Trade Book 2013 By the National Science Teacher’s Association and the Children’s Book Council (click for info)

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About Habitats—Oceans provides a good introduction to the world beneath the surface of the salty water that covers more than two thirds of our planet.
In spare text that presents basic facts about animals, plants, geological features, and the ecology of the ocean, the author provides the sort of basic information young children are often interested in. Throughout the book, information is presented as straightforward facts, not as a narrative. The language is simple and quiet, leaving room for questions from children or discussion questions from the adult reading the book to them. As such, the book would be a good read-aloud book, and would work well as a starting point for further ocean-related investigation or activities.

Illustrator John Sill, widely respected for his paintings of birds, provides subdued, detailed plates depicting parts of the ocean many humans will never have the opportunity to visit directly. Some of the images show animals and geological features at a distance, which helps convey just how vast the ocean is. Close-up images of the Green Sea Turtle and the Humpback Anglerfish are particularly inviting and would likely capture the attention of children reading at the third grade level.

Additional, more in-depth information about the plants, animals, and ecology of this habitat is provided near the end of the book. Small versions of each plate accompany the text and provide a helpful reminder of what is being discussed. A glossary is also included.

Two of Sill’s other books, About Habitats–Grasslands and About Hummingbirds were named top science trade books by National Science Teachers Association. About Habitats—Oceans, the most recent addition to the About Habitats line from Peachtree Publishers, would make a fine addition to libraries wishing to provide basic resources about ocean habitats for young children and their educators.


Cathryn Sill, Author:
(extensive list of similarly formatted titles on other subjects)

John Sill, Illustrator
(additional information about his work illustrating birds)

NOAA activities for children:

National Geographic information about oceans for children:

  • Habitats OceansTitle: About Habitats–Oceans
  • Author: Cathryn Sill
  • Illustrator: John Sill
  • Publisher: Peachtree Publishers
  • Reviewer: Lisa Kahn Schnell
  • Hardback: 48 pages
  • ISBN: 978-1-56145-618-7
  • Genre: Non-fiction, science

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