How the Sea Came to Be (And All the Creatures In It) by Jennifer Berne, illustrated by Amanda Hall

Published by Eerdmans Books for Young Readers

Summary:  Rhyming quatrains describe the history of the sea in three parts: the birth of the sea, the birth of life, and the sea from then until now.  All are accompanied by colorful illustrations that sometimes show the sun-dappled waters of the sea and other times take readers down into the black ocean depths.  Includes notes from the author and illustrator; two pages of ocean creatures that include illustrations and a paragraph of information about each; a four-panel gatefold timeline showing seven eras of the Earth’s history; key terms and concepts with definitions; and two pages of additional resources. 56 pages; grades 1-5.

Pros:  A spectacular nonfiction book that should be considered for a Sibert award.  The rhyming text is both catchy and impressive, making this a great choice to read aloud, and the illustrations are truly spectacular, conveying both the powerful forces that created the seas and the incredible diversity of life within them.  The timeline is a masterpiece, and the rest of the back matter makes this an excellent resource for research.

Cons:  I would have liked the timeline to have also been incorporated into the text to show the eras of each of the three parts.

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