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Ocean Soup: A Book of Tide Pool Poems

Ocean Soup: A Book of Tide Pool Poems

by Stephen R. Swinburne

From the low-down lobster to the old, cold fish living under the pier, playful poems introduce some of the squishy, shelled and spiny creatures that call the Atlantic and Pacific tide pools home.


From the low-down lobster to the old, cold fish living under the pier, playful poems introduce some of the squishy, shelled and spiny creatures that call the Atlantic and Pacific tide pools home.

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 2–4—Poems about sea creatures that inhabit tide pools are accompanied by googly-eyed, often comical, cartoon representations of each one, along with a short note describing a few of its characteristics. Many of the selections are quatrains with rhyming second and fourth lines. Barnacle, sea slug, sculpin, mussel, starfish, lobster, octopus, and more—each describes its own habits in first-person verse, some with a refrain tagged on: "Scuttle to the left, scuttle to the right./In my new shell, I'll scuttle all night." (The hermit crab). Critters are painted in bright pastel colors—yellow, yellow-green, pale and bright pink, red, and shades of blue. Their distinctive shapes are clear, and characteristic details, such as spines, tentacles, and suction cups, are included. Each spread features a humorous poem, several illustrations, and information about the creature. More fun than purely factual, this collection is an additional choice for poetry sections.—Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH
Publishers Weekly
Appearing as googly-eyed cartoons, sea creatures discuss life in the tide pools in these lighthearted rhymes. Hairy Doris, a sea slug, is proud of her unusual appearance (“I’m really rather lucky that/ I have no pesky shell./ Behold my lovely body—/ I’m a stunning tide-pool belle!”) and in a poem called “Regenerate,” a starfish is casual about losing an appendage: “A crab comes—SNIP!—there goes my arm./ Rude, yes, but I’m not alarmed.” Brief paragraphs provide factual tidbits, though the focus is definitely on fun. Ages 6–9. (Feb.)
Kirkus Reviews
Twelve poems, most in the first-person voices of tide-pool inhabitants, offer a glimpse into the watery world of the intertidal zone. But young readers or listeners not already familiar with that mysterious world may be left adrift. Nothing in the text or illustrations defines that quite distinctive environment. Barnacles, sea slugs, sea urchins, sculpins, mussels, starfish, hermit crabs, anemones, lobsters, octopuses and plankton-Swinburne mixes East and West Coast creatures, highlighting a few distinctive characteristics in his playful, sometimes ragged poetry and adding a short paragraph of factual detail for each. On each double-page spread, against a watery blue background, Peterson's equally lighthearted cartoons show anthropomorphized, googly-eyed creatures; some suggest they can all be found together. The author includes a glossary of unfamiliar words used in his poems as well as a note and some suggested web and text resources. Teachers and librarians expecting science at the level of Swinburne's previous work (Wings of Light, 2006, etc.) will be disappointed, but this might supplement more informative texts. (Poetry/informational picture book. 5-9)
Children's Literature - Sharon Salluzzo
The animals that live in a tide pool are introduced in these twelve poems, each of which is written in a different style. A paragraph accompanies each poem and provides solid information about the creatures. My favorite poem is "A Starfish Interviews an Octopus." Here, each question is answered in a rhymed couplet and provides good information in an entertaining way. Overall, the poems are inconsistent in their quality and information. Terms are used but not explained. Some of these might be difficult for a child, such as the term "filter feed." The cartoon illustrations are done in pencil and computer-colored. They have a playful look to them which reflects the playful approach taken by the poetry. The first and last poems and the accompanying illustrations present an overview of a tide pool. The other poems and illustrations focus on a particular creature, such as sculpins, mussels, sea slugs, sea urchins, barnacles, starfish, and the hermit crab, with other creatures in the background. Teachers whose classrooms are working on this topic might want to read one poem a day. Neither the illustrations nor the poems carry enough interest for the book to be read from cover to cover in one sitting. In the back of the book there are an author's note, resources that include books and web sites, and a glossary, but there is no pronunciation guide. Reviewer: Sharon Salluzzo

Product Details

Publication date:
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Product dimensions:
8.30(w) x 10.70(h) x 0.10(d)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Stephen R. Swinburne is a former park ranger and the author of several nonfiction books for children, including WINGS OF LIGHT: THE MIGRATION OF THE YELLOW BUTTERFLY. Steve lives in South Londonderry, Vermont.

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