Friday, January 19, 2024

How the Sea Came to Be

I’m always on the lookout for good books that show evolution of life on our planet. I can’t believe I missed this one when it came out last spring – but I got a copy last month and I’m glad I did. It’s lovely! Just look at the gorgeous cover art ...

How the Sea Came to Be (And All the Creatures In It)  
by Jennifer Berne; illus. by Amanda Hall 
56 pages; ages 6-10
‎Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 2023

theme: ocean, marine animals, evolution

Billions and billions of years long ago,
when the Earth was young and new,
the world was so hot, rock melted and boiled,
and fiery, wild winds blew.

The birth of our planet was hot and sizzly. Volcanoes exploded. Asteroids crashed from the sky. But over time our planet began to cool. Rains washed into low spots, filling oceans and creating habitat ripe for emerging life. Simple organisms paved the way for ribbed and frilled creatures, spongy clusters clinging to rock, worms, trilobites … eventually fish.

What I like love about this book: I love the language in this book! So many verbs. The young Earth sizzles, simmers, bubbles and burbles. As it cools, the crust heaves and puckers, wrinkles and bulges. I love that you have to turn the book, at one point, to get a vertical view of the deep, deep sea. The lyrical language introduces young readers (and listeners) to geology, oceanography, marine biology, and the diversity of life that has inhabited the seas over four and a half billion years.

And there is Back Matter! We are still discovering, still learning, says Jennifer Berne in her author’s note. Gate-folds open to show more about ocean creatures through time. There’s a glossary of key terms and concepts, and lots of resources: books, videos, webpages, museums and aquariums. This book is a tremendous resource for any classroom – and guaranteed to ignite the imagination of any child interested in the ocean.

Beyond the Books:

Visit a museum and look at the displays of fossils of ancient sea life. My favorites are trilobites!

Check out this video of Trilobites (here). Remember when I said trilobites are my faves?

Write or draw a story about exploring the ocean and some ancient creatures you find.

Today we’re joining Perfect Picture Book Friday. It’s a wonderful gathering where bloggers share great picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's website. Since this book also appeals to older readers, look for us on Monday over at Marvelous Middle Grade Monday. It's over at Greg Pattridge's blog, Always in the Middle, so hop over to see what other people are reading. Review copy provided by the publisher.


  1. I, too, love this book for the same reasons! Love the language and illustrations, and the back matter and gatefold are so well done!

  2. Sue, this is such a great book. Glad you featured it. Love video in your activites.

  3. I don't know how the seas were formed so it sounds like a good book for me. The verb choices the author uses sound really good too.

  4. This is awesome! I love when there's a spread in the book that you have to turn sideways to see. So creative. The language and artwork in this book sound amazing. Thanks so much for sharing this.

  5. I love the cover! The language used is so attractive too, what a fabulous way to get young readers interested in the ocean! Thank you for sharing!

  6. I agree- lovely language and gorgeous illustration. Thanks for sharing. Carol Baldwin

  7. I know quite a few young readers who would love this book. A great springboard to motivate learning. Thanks for featuring the book on this week's MMGM.

  8. True, the sea came to be by billions
    of years.. yet, the C-section also was
    produced by God. Can we agree on
    that simple factoid, dear? Follow me
    Upstairs for another trillions O miles
    of funnyisms N blogOrammathons:
    ● ●
    Cya soon, girly-withe-curly...

  9. You always find and feature the most interesting books. And this one is beautiful too. Thanks. I will check it out.