Thematic Reading List: 20 Under the Sea Picture Books


Whether it starts with a pet fish or a trip to the beach, some kids love reading about sea creatures. Our list of 20 picture books featuring sea animals is sure to create even more interest about the many sea dwellers on our planet.

9780375858949 Barry, the fish with fingers
By: Sue Hendra

When Barry the fish shows off his new fingers, all the fish are eager to get their own.
1589250508 Clumsy Crab
By: Ruth Galloway

Nipper the crab hates his huge, clumsy claws until his friend Octopus gets tangled up in some seaweed and only Nipper can free him.
9780399246067 Dolphins on the Sand
By: Jim Arnosky

A dozen dolphins, led by their eldest member and her youngster, become stranded on a sandbar and must be helped to safety by humans.
9781589254091 Fidgety Fish
By: Paul Bright
Illustrated by: Ruth Galloway

Sent out for a swim in the deep sea, Tiddler, a young fish who just can’t keep still, sees many interesting creatures and one very dark cave.
9781455623884_p0_v1_s550x406 How the Squid Got Two Long Arms
By: Henry Herz
Illustrated by: Luke Graber

A squid that feels cold begins stealing clothing from other animals until, finally, they fight back, leaving him with two arms longer than the others. Includes facts about squids.
9780545143127 Jangles: a big fish story 
By: David Shannon

A father relates to his son the tale of his encounter–and friendship–with a gigantic trout whose enormous jaw is covered with so many lures and fish hooks that he jangles when he swims, but who has never been caught.
9781878405302-us Jenny Jellyfish: a tale of wiggly jellies  
By: Suzanne Tate
Illustrated by: James Melvin

A day in the life of Jenny Jellyfish and her friends includes being beached by a storm.
0988326922 Kobee Manatee: heading home to Florida
By: Robert Scott Thayer
Illustrated by: Lauren Gallegos

After making a rare summertime trip from Florida to Cape Cod, Massachusetts, Kobee Manatee needs to get back before winter, but he is willing to help new friends, Pablo, a wonderfully vulnerable hermit crab, and Tess, a compassionate and adventurous seahorse, he meets along the way and together they face several obstacles.
1499802285 Lorenzo, the Pizza-loving Lobster
By: Claire Lordon

Lorenzo the lobster’s favorite food is pizza, so when his friend Kalena the sea turtle finds one she brings it back for Lorenzo, and once they figure out how to make it, they have a pizza party for all their friends.
9781568990767 Manatee Winter
By: Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld
Illustrated by: Steven Petruccio

A mother manatee and her little calf travel from the Gulf of Mexico through dangerous water full of speeding boats.
0140569898 Mister Seahorse
By: Eric Carle

After Mrs. Seahorse lays her eggs on Mr. Seahorse’s belly, he drifts through the water, greeting other fish fathers who are taking care of their eggs.
9781338112474 Misunderstood Shark
By: Ame Dyckman
Illustrated by: Scott Magoon

Shark interrupts the filming of Underwater World with Bob, scattering the other creatures (and the audience), but he claims it is all a terrible misunderstanding–that he would never think of eating the fish, the squid, the audience…or Bob.
9781943328871 Pup the Sea Otter
By: Jonathan London
Illustrated by: Sean London

The first year of life for a male sea otter, as his mother tenderly cares for him and teaches him how to survive on his own.
184148704X Secret Seahorse
By: Stella Blackstone
Illustrated by: Clare Beaton

A sea horse leads the reader past coral reefs and underwater creatures to a sea horse family hidden in a cave. Includes notes on coral reefs and various marine animals.
0744588995 Shark and Lobster’s Amazing Undersea Adventure
By: Viviane Schwarz
Illustrated by: Joel Stewart

Follows the humorous attempts of Shark and Lobster to conquer their fear of tigers.
9780062203205 Shark Kiss, Octopus Hug
By: Lynn Rowe Reed
Illustrated by: Kevin Cornell

Charlie the shark wants nothing more than a hug, and Olivia Octopus desperately wants a kiss, but none of the people on the beach are interested.
1589250281 Smiley Shark
By: Ruth Galloway

Smiley Shark loves to smile, but everyone is afraid of his big, sharp, toothy grin. Catfish, Sea Star, and Octopus all swim away from Smiley Shark as fast as they can. His teeth are too scary! When all the fish are caught in a net, though, they need Smiley Shark’s help. A big smile is just what is needed to save the day!
9780394817132 Swimmy
By: Leo Lionni

A Leo Lionni classic: When his school of fish is attacked by a big tuna, Swimmy goes out on his own and discovers the wonders of the sea, so when he finds a new school, he helps them find a way to venture out and stand up to the bigger fish.
9781580891493 Turtle, Turtle, Watch Out!
By: April Pulley Sayre
Illustrated by: Annie Patterson

From before the time she hatches until she returns to the same beach to lay eggs of her own, a sea turtle is helped to escape from danger many times by different human hands.
9780375922794 A Whale of a Tale: all about porpoises, dolphins, and whales
By: Bonnie Worth
Illustrated by: Aristides Ruiz and Joe Mathieu

While the young reader is reading about Captain McElligot’s boat, the Cetacean Station, and joining the Cat in the Hat, Thing One and Two and the two children from the Cat’s earliest adventures, he/she is also learning about marine mammals, toothed and baleen whales, the difference between dolphins and porpoises, whale habitat, reproduction, behavior, and so on. The book includes a simple glossary and suggestions for further reading.


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