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Over in the Ocean: In a Coral Reef

Over in the Ocean: In a Coral Reef

4.5 10
by Marianne Berkes, Jeanette Canyon (Illustrator)

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This coral reef is a marine nursery, teeming with mamas and babies! In the age-old way of kids and fish, children will count and clap to the rhythm of "Over in the Meadow" while puffer fish "puff," gruntfish "grunt" and seahorses "flutter." The colorful art is fresh and fun - constructed entirely from clay-like material - and invites young fingers to fashion fishy


This coral reef is a marine nursery, teeming with mamas and babies! In the age-old way of kids and fish, children will count and clap to the rhythm of "Over in the Meadow" while puffer fish "puff," gruntfish "grunt" and seahorses "flutter." The colorful art is fresh and fun - constructed entirely from clay-like material - and invites young fingers to fashion fishy forms.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Remarkable clay compositions recreate the undersea world in the board book Over in the Ocean in a Coral Reef by Marianne Berkes, illus. by Jeanette Canyon, a riff on the classic Over in the Meadow. Youngsters can almost touch the smooth scales of a fish or the rough spikes of a coral reef as they count up from a fuchsia "mother octopus and her octopus one" to 10 lime-green seahorses with their father. And the watery backdrop shifts from 1, 2, 3 to ABC in A Swim Through the Sea by Kristin Joy Pratt-Serafini, which traces salty creatures from Angelfish to Zebrafish. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
The gorgeous illustrations in this book deserve top billing. Polymer clay in vibrant colors was sculpted, sliced, pressed, and plied by the artist, then photographed to create the two-dimensional relief art of marine life. Each folio reveals a different species of swimmer, ten in all, against sea-inspired polymer backdrops that include swirls of aqua waves, orange and purple coral gnarls, and ribbons of sea grass in stunning chartreuse. Quite satisfactorily, the artist explains her process at the back of the book and gives parents and teachers tips on helping children create with polymer clay. Only after perusal of the art has been satisfied (and I would wager child or adult will study it many times) will one settle down to enjoy reading the book. Set to the rhythm and tune of "Over in the Meadow," the text opens with mother octopus and her baby one, mother parrotfish and her parrotfish two, and so on, until the tenth species and her ten babies are introduced in counting book fashion. Although Berkes explains in separate text at the back of the book that dolphins really only produce one (sometimes two) offspring at a time, it is, therefore, puzzling that she introduces mother and six baby dolphins at point six in the counting rhyme. But there are enough bonuses in this book to overlook that flaw. The back of the book also provides music and lyrics, facts about coral life and reef animals, and finger play suggestions for teachers and parents. 2004, Dawn Publications, Ages 3 to 8.
—Anne May
Kirkus Reviews
Eye-popping artwork is the star of the show in Berkes's lively, oceanic counting book, based on the classic children's song Over in the Meadow. In Berkes's version, creatures from the coral reef replace terrestrial fauna. She introduces a different animal in each full-bleed spread, but instead of bluebirds and muskrats, she highlights octopuses, pufferfish, and seahorses. Canyon uses polymer clay to create arresting visuals. In one spread, a sea anemone, its hot pink base crowned with rosy-tipped, lime-green tendrils, bursts from the page while mother clownfish darts after a trio of young ones. Their textured scales and vivid patterns stand out against a swirling blue background of coiled clay and small, bubble-like spheres. Young children will enjoy counting the offspring. Backmatter includes music and lyrics, further information about each animal, and an artists' note explaining how the illustrations were created. (Picture book. 4-8)

Product Details

Dawn Publications
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
9.90(w) x 8.70(h) x 0.20(d)
AD600L (what's this?)
Age Range:
3 - 6 Years

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Over in the Ocean: In a Coral Reef 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
storiesforchildren More than 1 year ago
Have you ever wondered what it is like under the ocean around a coral reef? Following the same rhyming pattern of the popular nineteenth century song "Over in the Meadow" by Olive A. Wadsworth, author Marianne Berkes describes the lives of sea creature parents and their babies in the coral reef so that children can understand more about them and have fun doing it. One octopus squirts. Two parrotfish grind. Three clownfish dart. Four stingrays stir. Five puffer fish puff. Six dolphins jump. Seven angelfish graze. Eight needlefish skitter. Nine gruntfish grunt. And ten seahorses flutter. As the author notes, "The animals really do squirt, grind, dart, etc., as they have been portrayed." The striking and realistic illustrations by Jeanette Canyon are all constructed entirely from polymer clay. The back of the book has the entire song with the music, along with several curriculum components, including information on ocean family babies, the coral reef community, the animals mentioned in the book, and even how the illustrations were made. There is also an explanation of how children can sing the song with different finger or hand movements. In addition there is the reinforcement of learning to count from one to ten. This book has won several awards, including Learning Magazine's Teacher's Choice Award. Children will find it fascinating both to read the words and to see the pictures.
jetPA More than 1 year ago
My grandson loves this book-we read it several times a day.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a fantastic counting, rhyming, learning about ocean creatures and their babies book. In the back are more interesting facts about the sea life described. It is fun to read and children stay interested while learning a lot about science. Wonderful addition to a child's book collection!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
psycheKK More than 1 year ago
When my son is not yet two-and-a-half, and could count to ten by himself. What does that have to do with this book? Well, Over in the Ocean is a counting-to-ten book, and he has heard this story repeatedly. Never underestimate the power of reading to your children. Over in the Ocean is also a "song" book (to the tune of Over in the Meadow), and it is a beautifully, polymer clay, illustrated book. It is also another book by my friendly acquaintance, Marianne Berkes. In fact, the first time I heard this book was when the children's library staff was helping her present it to a very full room of children at a summer program. I was really into the song until I got caught out by the seahorse. That one little twist makes the book memorable. And as I've said before, it is beautiful, with its turquoise ocean and brightly colored sea life.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very cute simple animations in the book. The activities are related to the song and counting. A must-read if your kids like sea creatures!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ProudMomWA More than 1 year ago
This is a fun book to read to your child. Our almost three year old daughter loves to read this counting book. The artwork is superb and very well done. This is one of the better book for counting we have read. She absolutely loves it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago