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The Ocean and Animals: Books For Kids

This list of the best kids books about the ocean is sure to include a new favorite for the voracious young reader in your life! From Inky's Amazing Escape to Ocean Emporium there's something here for everyone's tastes. Do you have a favorite book about the ocean? Let us know!

Inky's Amazing Escape book
#1
Inky's Amazing Escape
Written by Sy Montgomery and illustrated by Amy Schimler-Safford
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Learn all about Inky the Octopus, an international sensation known for escaping from the New Zealand aquarium in April 2016, in this adorable picture book from National Book Award nominee and octopus lover Sy Montgomery. Inky had been at the New Zealand aquarium since 2014 after being taken in by a fisherman who found him at sea. Inky had been getting used to his new environment, but the staff quickly figured out that he had to be kept amused or he would get bored. Then one night in 2016 Inky, about the size of a basketball, decided he’d had enough. He slithered eight feet across the floor and down a drainpipe more than 160 feet long to his home in the sea. Acclaimed author Sy Montogmery reminds readers that Inky didn’t escape—but instead, like the curious animal he is, wanted to explore the rest of the vast ocean he called his home.

1, 2, 3 Sea Creatures book
#2
1, 2, 3 Sea Creatures
Written and illustrated by Toko Hosoya
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-5

Beautiful, hand-drawn illustrations of sea creatures help teach the 1,2,3s in a fun and unforgettable way. This charming picture book is sure to engage early learners in counting and picture recognition skills until the very last page! The book also comes with a poster displaying the silly sea creatures matched with their corresponding numbers!

Hello, World! Ocean Life book
#3
Hello, World! Ocean Life
Written and illustrated by Jill McDonald
picture book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

All young children love to play in the waves at the beach. Now here’s a Hello, World! board book that teaches them all about oceans and the creatures and plants that live there.

Who's Hiding at the Beach? book
#4
Who's Hiding at the Beach?
Written by Nosy Crow and illustrated by Katharine McEwen, Nosy Crow
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

There are lots of creatures at the beach. Where are they hiding and what are they doing? In this innovative lift-the-flap book, little ones can pore over the beautiful collaged pages and explore under rocks, shells, and seaweed to find out lots of interesting facts about seaside wildlife. This is the perfect introduction to the outdoors.

Octopuses One to Ten book
#5
Octopuses One to Ten
Written by Ellen Jackson and illustrated by Robin Page
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-8

"A fascinating counting journey through the amazing and mysterious world of octopuses"--

  1. Slide-N-Seek Ocean - Explore a new and exciting way to learn about creatures that live in the ocean with this Slide-N-Reveal book. You'll see colorful images appear before your very eyes with the turn of a wheel. Learn fun facts about each creature and discover hidden images throughout each page. Kids will love this fun and interactive format and learn about beautiful creatures along the way.

  2. Moby-Dick - Little Master Melville teaches little ones the language of the sea in Moby-Dick: An Ocean Primer. From ships and sailors to squawking gulls and moody good captains, Alison Oliver’s brilliant illustrations and Jennifer Adams’ clever, simple text will make a sea dog out of any young shipmate.

  3. Peekaboo! In the Ocean! - Peekaboo! Who's hiding in the ocean? Lift the flap to find out! Perfect for guessing, prediction and memory skills – and simply joining in!

  4. Aquarium - A girl ventures to the water's edge, dreaming of a new friend. And, just like that, a beguiling red fish leaps into her life. But is friendship a sea these two can navigate together? From debut Argentinian author-illustrator Cynthia Alonso comes a wordless picture book about the timeless beauty of nature, the transcendent power of connection, and the importance of letting go.

Many: the Diversity of Life on Earth book
#10
Many: the Diversity of Life on Earth
Written by Nicola Davies and illustrated by Emily Sutton
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

The more we study the world around us, the more living things we discover every day. The planet is full of millions of species of plants, birds, animals, and microbes, and every single one including us is part of a big, beautiful, complicated pattern. When humans interfere with parts of the pattern, by polluting the air and oceans, taking too much from the sea, and cutting down too many forests, animals and plants begin to disappear. What sort of world would it be if it went from having many types of living things to having just one?

Nerdy Babies: Ocean book
#11
Nerdy Babies: Ocean
Written and illustrated by Emmy Kastner
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

In Nerdy Babies: Ocean, follow our intrepid infants into the watery depths. Check out animals, plants, and fish that live in the ocean. Plus, learn about the unique ecosystem in this simple text written in question and answer format. With bright artwork and an engaging design, this will be a book that the very littlest nerds will want to return to again and again. Stay curious. There’s more to learn about everything!

Peek-a-Baby: Ocean book
#12
Peek-a-Baby: Ocean
Written and illustrated by Mike Orodan
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

Baby animals are hiding in the ocean! Lift the flaps to help each animal parent find their babies, from playful dolphin pups to a shy whale calf. Peekaboo fans will delight in revealing every adorable baby animal—and learning what special sound they make! With cleverly layered pages and distinctive limited-palette artwork, this is a board book series to treasure.

Sea Star Wishes book
#13
Sea Star Wishes
Written by Eric Ode and illustrated by Erik Brooks
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Selected as a Children's Poet Laureate Monthly Book Pick, Sea Star Wishes captures the varied and colorful world of our beautiful coastal shores. Discover the wonders of the sea and enjoy a day at the beach in playful and imaginative poetry and illustrations. In these coastal poems for kids, children meet sea lions, starfish, jellyfish, and other animals in the ocean, and dream about sandcastles and other beach activities. This fun, lyrical children's poetry collection by award-winning children's singer and songwriter Eric Ode features lively illustrations by Washington State Book Award recipient Erik Brooks.

10 Reasons to Love... a Whale book
#14
10 Reasons to Love... a Whale
Written by Catherine Barr and illustrated by Hanako Clulow
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Blue whales are incredible creatures! Did you know they are the largest animal on earth? Or that they sing songs across the ocean? Discover ten reasons why whales are amazing and five ways you can show they love them in this gorgeous picture book. A must for any young animal enthusiast and a fantastic introduction to environmental issues.

  1. Seashells - Prolific, award-winning nonfiction author Melissa Stewart reveals the surprising ways seashells provide more than shelter to the mollusks that inhabit them. Young naturalists discover thirteen seashells in this elegant introduction to the remarkable versatility of shells. A dual-layered narrative highlights how shells provide more than a protective home. The informative sidebars underscore characteristics specific to each shell. Elegant watercolor illustrations create a scrapbook feel, depicting children from around the world observing and sketching seashells across shores.

  2. Dottie Dolphin Plays Hide-and-Seek - A one-of-a-kind ocean adventure with Dottie Dolphin! When Dottie Dolphin dives deep into the ocean to play hide-and-seek with her siblings, she discovers a wonderful world of ocean animals. Join Dottie and her new friends beneath the waves in this interactive story with flaps to lift and colorful, detailed underwater scenes by best-selling nature illustrator Maurice Pledger.

  3. The Truth About Dolphins - Did you know that dolphins find their dinners by using sound to track down the location of their prey? Did you know that baby dolphins are born tail-first? Did you know that each dolphin has a unique whistle (like human fingerprints) that makes them recognizable to other dolphins? Discover these facts and more in this new addition to the popular series that combines raucous amounts of humor with a surprising amount of information on beloved animal friends.

  4. A Whale's World - A Whale’s World follows a pod of spy-hopping orcas as they explore the ecosystems of the Great Bear Sea while hunting for their next meal. Past rocky shores and through kelp forests,they observe foraging wolves, hungry grizzly bears, curious black bears, graceful fin whales, splashing porpoises,slippery seals and other members of the Pacific coastal food web.The book gives readers a fun introduction to the many ways that marine and land animals interact with their environments and with each other.

Inky the Octopus book
#19
Inky the Octopus
Written and illustrated by Erin Guendelsberger
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-10

Out of this tank, I must be free.I must explore the open sea!Inky the octopus is bored with aquarium life and wants to escape to the ocean! But just how can an octopus in a tank get to the open seas? Find out in Inky the Octopus, the only tale of the mischievous octopus to be officially endorsed by the National Aquarium of New Zealand.

How to Survive as a Shark book
#20
How to Survive as a Shark
Written by Kristen Foote and illustrated by Erica Salcedo
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-10

Ahoy, me mateys! Upset your Mom swam away after you were born? Cry me an ocean. You’ve got ME to show you the ropes! Well, at least until I get a craving for baby shark. Swim along and I’ll teach you how to hunt using all six senses (a whole sense more than a human), why you can NEVER stop moving (blimey, no - not even to sleep!), and what your most dangerous threat is (here’s a hint: those sneaky landlubbers don’t even live in our waters!). Aye, me hearties, learning How to Survive as a Shark is not as easy as it sounds! How to Survive as a Shark provides a unique take on fish science that will entertain and educate in and out of the classroom. Full of opportunities for extended learning, this book includes fun facts hidden throughout the hilarious illustrated story – and after, a glossary of important terms and some real photos of great white sharks. If you’ve ever wondered how to think and swim like a shark, and you like to laugh while you learn, this book is for you!

Exploring the Deep, Dark Sea book
#21
Exploring the Deep, Dark Sea
Written and illustrated by Gail Gibbons
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

The surface of the moon is more familiar to us than the deep sea of our own planet. Many oceanographers are trying to change that. To explore the deep sea, they climb into submersibles and employ ROVs to find out more about the ocean and ocean floor. Gail Gibbons invites readers along for a journey to the deep sea, explaining the technology for exploration and the kinds of animals found at different sea levels.

Seagrass Dreams book
#22
Seagrass Dreams
Written by Kathleen Hanes and illustrated by Chloe Bonfield
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Learn to count as you discover a host of marine animals that make their home in seagrass. Seagrass Dreams is a unique counting book and introduction to marine life that stars animals who make their home in seagrass. While learning to count from 1 to 11, meet a host of marine animals, such as the great barracuda, yellow stingray, bucktooth parrotfish, and chocolate chip sea star. Find out each animal's name, scientific name, natural habitat, and more! Seagrass Dreams features gorgeous illustrations, adding a colorful and engaging element to this delightful book. Seagrass Dreams closes with a list of the common species of seagrass, their scientific names, and where each can be found.

Twenty  Thousand  Leagues  Under  the  Sea book
#23
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea
Written and illustrated by Francesca Rossi
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-10

Jules Verne’s early sci-fi novel is a timeless masterpiece that predicted the invention of the submarine. This stunningly illustrated retelling introduces young readers to the enigmatic Captain Nemo and takes them along on a fantastic voyage on board the Nautilus. Artist Francesca Rossi vividly captures the ocean’s depths and the amazing creatures that live there, bringing children right into the heart of the adventure.

  1. Chomp: A Shark Romp - Dive in to the depths of the ocean to discover different species of sharks in this nonfiction picture book with simple text and illustrations. Many different kinds of sharks are swimming below the ocean's surface. Some sharks are gentle, and some sharks are fierce. Some are awake in the day, and some are awake at night. Some eat almost anything, and some are very picky. You may not be able to visit their watery world, but you can always visit them up close at the aquarium. Simple text and bold illustrations take young explorers on a deep dive through the ocean full of sharks. Don't Miss More from Michael Paul in Roar: A Dinosaur Tour!

  2. Ocean Emporium - With a nod to the Victorian-era fascination with natural history collections and drawings, young readers will be awed by this compendium of ocean creatures and will learn how creatures great and small are interconnected in this mysterious ecosystem. From plankton and krill, to corals and crabs, to sea dragons and squids and swordfish and more! The oceans are teeming with life! Find out fascinating facts about these animals and how they survive deep beneath the waves.

Did you enjoy our children's book recommendations? Did we miss one of your favorites? Let us know in the comments below!