Thursday, September 30, 2021

Board Book Review: The Sun Shines on the Sea by Michael Slack (2021)

Quick Booktalk  

This simple nonfiction text introduces the food chain of ocean creatures. 

About the Illustrations 

The pictures in this book are caricatures of various sea creatures, made cartoonish by their large round eyes. Some pages have lift-the-flap features showing what each animal has recently eaten. There is also one wordless spread where the illustrations provide the story's sole moment of suspense. Will the whale eat the shark? (No, of course not; whales eat krill.)

Story Time Possibilities

I'm all for reading nonfiction to even very young children, and I think this book in particular is entertaining enough outside of its informational content to work as a strong read-aloud. I would not expect a toddler to actually learn anything explicit about the food chain, but the structure of the book is very toddler-friendly, as are the pictures. Even the lift-the-flap elements are infrequent enough that showing them to a story time audience would not be unduly difficult. I'm most likely going to try using this at a story time in the future.

Readers Advisory 

Unlike many other nonfiction books aimed at babies and toddlers, this one isn't just an info-dump dressed up with pictures of babies. The text in this book is simple and straightforward, and the predictable structure in which one animal eats another on every page is well-suited to the interests of toddlers. For kids with an interest in under-the-sea creatures (like my shark-loving 18-month-old son) this is a guaranteed hit.


I received a finished copy of The Sun Shines on the Sea from Candlewick Press in exchange for an honest review.

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