Seashells: More Than A Home
by Melissa Stewart; illustrated by Sarah S. Brannen
32 pages; ages 6-9
Topics: ocean animals, adaptation
Every day, seashells wash up on beaches all over Earth, like treasures from a secret world beneath the waves.
They come in all sizes, colors, and shapes. That's because they have so many different jobs to do. In this book Melissa Stewart explains how some shells function to allow the mollusk to dive deeper into the water, or tunnel into the seabed to hide from a predator. Some shells blend in with their background, while others light up.
I love Sarah Brannen's watercolors. Not only does she show amazing details about the shells, but she includes children drawing shells, and journal sketches with notes. And the colors are so warm and soft I just want to take off my shoes and socks and stick my feet in a sandbox.
I love the end pages that show the mollusk habitats and ranges. And the wonderful spread at the back where you can learn more about the five largest groups of mollusks. One thing Sarah writes in her illustrator's note sticks with me: "You never see something as clearly as when you try to draw it." That's why I try to sketch things I see when I head outside. Drawing what you see in nature makes you slow down and look more closely at the details.
Beyond the Books:
Draw a shell. Visit a museum or nature center or other place that has shells. (You might find shells in a store!) Find one that you like and draw it. Remember what Sarah says: drawing helps you see the details. Write down some of the things you notice.
If you had a shell, what kind would it be? How would you move from one place to another?
Next time you're at a beach, go on a seashell scavenger hunt. Look for:
- a shell with a pointy end
- a shell that curls around itself
- a shell that looks like a fan
- a shell with ripples
- a shell that's smooth
- a shell that's broken
- a shell that's spotted or checkered
- a shell with spikes
You can download a teacher’s guide for this book from Charlesbridge.
STEM Friday, where you can discover other cool STEM books. And we're joining Perfect Picture Book Friday, an event where bloggers share great picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's website . Review copy provided by publishers.