Thursday, March 28, 2013

STEM Friday: These Seas Count

These Seas Count!
written by Alison Formento; illustrated by Sarah Snow
2013 (Albert Whitman)
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher

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Mr. Tate's class is visiting Sunnyside Beach on Beach Clean-Up Day. A local sailor, Captain Ned, tries to take care of the ocean, but he is going to need the help of the class. The beach is littered with a variety of trash. He explains that the sea is sad. His words met with skepticism by the class, Captain Ned encourages them to listen to the sea. What they hear is a counting of ten different animals who call this habitat home. For example, students hear from three marlins and four sea horses. After hearing from ten bottle nose dolphins, Captain Ned leads the class to think about why pollution is bad is bad for the ocean and for humans. The food chain is interrupted when pollution destroys phytoplankton. This means less food for fish that feed on this producer. Crabs and starfish are just some of the animals that have to fight against the tide of man-made trash that invades their home. Besides providing food for bigger living things, phytoplankton is also a producer of oxygen. Less phytoplankton, less clean air. Captain Ned's lesson prompts Mr. Tate's class to count the bags of garbage that they collect.

These Seas Count! is more than a counting book. It's a tale of why our seas are important and why they are worth saving. Preschool and kindergarten students who would be interested in a counting book also have a basic understanding of why pollution is bad for the environment. More than likely they can't pronounce phytoplankton, but they will understand why plants that provide food and oxygen need to be helped. With attractive collage illustrations, These Seas Count! would be a good addition to an environmental unit. Find this book for reading as part of your upcoming Earth Day celebration as well.


  1. This looks like a great book - and I love that it has long words, because I think children want to learn long words, to roll them around on their tongues, to taste the salty sea that comes with pronouncing "fi-toh-plank-tun" and impressing friends and relatives around the dinner table...
    thanks for an enticing review.

    1. That's a great point, Sue. Young children are more intelligent than adults want to give them credit for being. They love to play with facts and words. Thank you for stopping by!

  2. Thanks for the nice words about THESE SEAS COUNT! and how this book can be useful for teachers to share with their students. I have helpful educator guides on my website for all of my books, too.
    I think the "fi-toh-plank-tun" suggestion in the comments is a good one. In the "splash" end notes of the book, I added a pronunciation key for the word as "fahy-tuh-PLANGK-tuhn," but I think Sue Heavenrich's idea works really well for younger readers. And I agree wholeheartedly that children enjoy reading and learning new words--especially longer ones that are fun to say. I truly enjoyed researching and writing this book and I love our seas and oceans even more now and how much they count in our world. I hope readers will feel the same.

    1. Thank you, Alison! I think readers do feel the same as you do about our oceans.