Monday, June 29, 2009

Over in the Ocean in a Coral Reef by Marianne Berkes

I bought a boardbook version of the companion book, Over in the Jungle, for our library but never had time to examine it thoroughly.

Well! The text is a version of "Over in the Meadow" using a variety of different sea creatures, from stingrays to needlefish. The rhymes are steady and readable. I've never managed to get kids to listen to Over in the Meadow in book or song form, but I think I might have a chance with this intriguing book, because....

The art is gorgeous. Created out of polymer clay by Jeanette Canyon, there are exquisite patterns and designs included in every different creature and background. From a distance, the pictures blend into colorful and cheering art, while a closer examination shows the intricate detail. I particularly like the millefiori-type work on the seahorses.

There is additional material explaining more about the different sea creatures pictured in the book and coral reefs in general. The author has included a section on using the book in storytimes, with specific actions for the rhymes, and the artist talks about how she creates her clay art.

Verdict: An excellent book for ocean storytimes or a clay craft program. Children who like to trace details in illustrations will also enjoy this.

ISBN: 978-1584690627; Published September 2004 by Dawn Publications; Review copy provided by author/publisher and added to the professional collection for use in programs

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