Picture Books about Oceans

Down, Down, Down: A Journey to the Bottom of the Sea – by Steve Jenkins

down down down.jpg

This gorgeously illustrated book presents a top-down tour of the ocean depths. We begin on the ocean’s surface and move down–layer by layer–into new depths, seeing how the plant and animal life changes as we go. By the end, we have plumbed the depths of the Marianas Trench, and we’ve been confronted by creatures that seem to belong to another world. I found this book to be particularly helpful in trying to convey the scope and depth of the ocean.

About Habitats: Oceans – by Cathryn Sill

about habitats - oceans.jpg

Beautiful illustrations accompany a spare and succinct (yet informative) text in this book. The text is easy to follow, and the book introduces a number of different aspects of underwater life. This book is part of a series that covers various habitats and the wildlife that inhabits them, all with beautiful illustrations and averaging a single sentence of text per page. Not too technical, but a great introduction.

Oceans: Underwater Worlds – by Laura Purdie Salas


This is a great introduction to the ocean as an ecosystem. The text is simple and very accessible, but offers some great facts about the ocean and its inhabitants. The book also covers how waves occur and has information about water cycles.

The Magic School Bus: On the Ocean Floor – by Joanna Cole and Bruce Degen

magic school bus

I’m usually not a big fan of books that are linked to TV shows, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the Magic School Bus books. The information is good, and it’s presented in an engaging way, with one main narrative text running throughout, but other tidbits of information presented as “school assignments” from the kids involved in Ms. Frizzle’s class. In this particular book, Ms. Frizzle takes her class on a field trip into the ocean, and they see first hand the differences in ecosystems all the way from the tidal pools to the depths of the ocean floor. My son loves the TV show, so he’s particularly excited to engage with the material in these books as well.

Oceans of the World in Color – by Speedy Publishing

oceans of the world.jpg

The photography in this book is stunningly beautiful. To be honest, I didn’t really use the text and factoids in this book. My son and I paged through it and looked at the photographs. And that is exactly what we needed. We’d read through a number of books with information about the ocean and its inhabitants, but here we could visualize it much more clearly by means of these wonderful photos.



15 thoughts on “Picture Books about Oceans

  1. Jane Whittingham

    Thanks for this collection! It’s great to find mini book-lists like this, it’s really helpful for when parents or teachers come in looking for books on a subject. Steve Jenkins is just so awesome, I love his illustration style. And I grew up with The Magic School Bus, so Ms. Frizzle will always be a favourite of mine. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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