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.