The Center for Children's Books


Graduate School of Library and Information Science
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Under the Sea - May 2008

Selected and annotated by Barbara Gembis


Adlington, L.J. The Diary of Pelly D, Greenwillow Books, 2005. Grades 7-10.
Tony V is part of a clean-up crew demolishing City Five after the end of the War. He finds the diary of a girl named Pelly D., who describes her carefree life that increasingly turns dark as her diary progresses. There were three major gene families, the Atsumisi, Mazzini, Galrezi, but the first two turned on the third. Pelly D.’s diary reveals the events from her perspective as the Galrezi are exterminated, and Tony V must deal with his newfound knowledge of the events of the War. Events the government is trying to cover up.

Babbit, Natalie. Jack Plank Tells Tales. Di Capua/Scholastic 2007 Gr 3-6
Jack is a pirate that has fallen on hard times with his crew. He is an outsourced pirate and must now fend for himself once he is left ashore. He is now stuck living his past. He tells stories that he has encountered throughout his life, like baking a cake for a mermaid. He looks around until he finds the perfect job for him.

Burns, Loree Griffin. Tracking Trash: Flotsam, Jetsam, and the Science of the Ocean Motion. Houghton, 2007 56 pagers illus. with photographs Gr 5-9
Dr. Curtis Ebbesmeyer is a trash man. He tracks the different types of trash that all end up in the ocean. He tracks the different trashes which include Nikes, colorful plastic bath toys, LEGO pieces, computer monitors, soap dispensers, and hockey gloves. He shows how this trash threatens marine life. This book makes the reader think about the effect that this trash has on our environment.

Butterworth, Chris Sea Horse. The Shyest Fish in the Sea. illus. by John Lawrence. Candlewick, 2006 32 p 4-8years
This book explains about seahorses. It first starts off with their physical features like "head of a horse, tail of a monkey". The book then goes on to explain the swimming and mating of seahorses. This book also contains many different sea horse facts and different types of sea horses. It is a good book to compare and contrast the different kinds of seahorses.

Floca, Brian. Lightship. written and illus. by Brian Floca. Jackson/Athenuem 2007 40 pages 5-8 years
This book focuses on Lightships which warn ships about hazards along the coast. The book focuses on The Ambrose, a lightship, now a part of the New York Seaport Museum. The reader is able to understand the importance the lightships in American history. It shows the life of the people that have to work with the lightship and how they have to wait until they get the correct signal in order to go. With all of the vibrant colors in the book it is hard to put it down.

Hart, J.V. Capt. Hook: The Adventures of a Notorious Youth. illus. by Brett Helquist Geringer/HarperCollins, 2005 337 pages Gr. 6-10
This book helps to make the audience appeal to the antagonist of the story. James Matthews who later becomes Captain Hook, finds out secrets about his family. He is an illegitimate son of an English Lord. He then is sent to live out at sea for seven years. He finds out his father's ship is used to transport slaves and gets his arm cut off in a fight. This book presents Captain Hook as a dashing and idealistic adolescent.

Johnson, Gilllian. Thora. written and illus by Gillian Johnson; Tegen/HarperColling, 2005 229 pages Gr 4-6
Thora is not just a typical 10 year-old girl. She is a half girl, half mermaid. She just moves to Grimli which is the place of her birth. The evil developer Frutty de Mare, is trying to expand his hotel and casino right where all of her relatives live. Thora is similar and a newer version of Pippi Longstocking. It keeps readers on their feet on what Thora will do next.

Laundry, Leo. Sea Surprise. written and illus. by Leo Laundry. Holt, 2005 64 pages Gr 2-4
Eel, the eel wakes up not feeling very electric and cannot use his zap. His friends, Kate, the mermaid, and Dave, the shark try to go out in order to help the eel feel better. They come up with some ideas and even other creatures from the sea try to figure out a way to make him feel better. Eel, then begins to feel left out like his friends have forgotten him since he finds out about the surprise party.

Lucas, David. Whale. written and illus. by David Lucas. Knopf, 200726 p Library ed. 5-8 yrs.
A huge whale miscalculate its aquatic gymnastics and bellyflops on top of Joe's little seaside town. Fishmonger wants to cut him up, but Joe wants to save him. Joe leads the townspeople in a Rain Song which pours down and frees the whale but floods the town. The whale ends up drinking up all of the water. The rain has caused so much damage on the town and so now it is the whales turn to get the animals from the sea to help bring the town back to normal.

Malone, Peter. Close to the Wind: The Beaufort Scale. written and illus. by Peter Malone Putnam, 2007 Gr 4-7
The Beaufort Scale was developed by Captain Francis Beaufort of the Royal Navy. This scale was used as a method to measure the wind speed from 0 to 12, especially for sailors. It starts off at a wind speed of 0 all the way until the wind speed is 12. Each page shows a different wind speed. This book also contains fictional letters from seamen which would say what they are going through in these winds.

MacDonald, Suse. Fish, Swish! Splash, Dash!: Counting Round and Round. written and illus by Suse MacDonald. Little Simon, 2007 2-5 yrs.
This book focuses on counting by using fish. It uses colorful fish to show the accumulation of fish. The book counts from one to ten. Once it reaches ten then it goes back down to one. This time around the numbers are not numerically written but are written by their number names. The colors are crisp and vibrant and children would enjoy reading this book over and over again.

Moffett, Mark W. Face to Face with Frogs. written and illus. with photographs by Mark W. Moffett. National Geographic, 2008 32 p Gr 3-5
There are not just fish under the sea. There are also frogs that are the start of many other species. This book provides Moffett's own explorations of the different frogs. He shows the different frogs and explains the difference between frogs and toads. He also explains how a frog changes from a tadpole to a frog and then focuses back on the atypical frog.

Rohmann, Eric. Clara and Asha. written and illus. by Eric Rohmann. Roaring Brook, 2005 32 pages 4-6 years
Clara is an average girl. Asha is an imaginary fish. Asha comes over late at night and Clara and Asha have many different adventures throughout the night. This continues until Clara's mom tells her to be quiet and to go to sleep. Then Asha bids farewell and promises to come back the next night.

Selfors, Suzanne. To Catch a Mermaid. illus. by Catia Chien. Little, 2007 246 p Gr 5-9
Twelve year old Boom Broom is busy little boy. One day unknowingly, Boom brings home a merbaby that is slimy, and is a sharp-toothed terror that wrecks havoc and infects Mertyle with Ick, which is the traditional, fatal punishment meted out by mermen whose children are taken by humans. Now Boom has to navigate his way through a series of unfortunate events in order to save Mertyle and to bring back the merbaby back to her parents.

Torrey, Michele. Voyage of Plunder. Knopf, 2005 200 pages Gr 5-9
Daniel Markham is forced to moved to Jamaica because of his father's merchant job and so he moves their with his father and step mother. One their way down, they get attacked by pirates that are led by Josiah Black. They release Daniels step mother but they execute his father and kidnap Daniel. Daniel plans to avenge his fathers death, but then he learns about the connections his father had with Josiah Black and that his father's death was also planned. Josiah Black tries to hide Daniel from the rest of the crew and then Daniel finds out that his birth father really is Josiah Black.

Tiffany, Grace. Ariel. Geringer/HarperCollins, 2005 240 pages Gr 7-12
Ariel, a character from The Tempest, is stuck on an island in the Bermuda Triangle. She waits to be freed from the triangle. She is finally freed from imprisonment by Prospero. She then twists his version of stories to make him believe her. This makes him steal his brother's ship. He finally discovers her true nature.

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