Tag Archives: sea animals

Waneta Walrus and her Blue Tutu by Jean Ingellis

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wanetacoverWaneta Walrus and her Blue Tutu by Jean Ingellis, e-book, 27 pages, published by Jean and Vic Publishing in 2015.

Waneta is a Walrus with only one tusk. She is very self conscious about this, and the other walruses tease her. When a small walrus pup finds himself in trouble with a shark in the water, Waneta doesn’t hesitate to go to his aid. Can she beat the shark and save the pup?

The text was bold and clear, and the story was easy to follow. Overall I liked the book. The story itself was told through rhyming language, which  is great to read aloud. Waneta was very brave to take on a shark. I’ve never really thought of walruses as being graceful creatures, so the idea of them moving like a ballerina was a little funny too.

Each page had a simple and bold illustration, which reminded me of making drawings with the paint program on my computer when I was a child. Made me a bit nostalgic actually. These simple illustrations are good for young children. I liked the picture of the walruses sleeping on the beach best.

While the story states that teasing others is wrong, this still had a ring of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer to it. The other walruses only liked Waneta after she did something that helped them. It’s good that they stopped bullying her, but it shouldn’t take an act of bravery for the others to be nice to her. I don’t want my kids to learn that they have to do something extraordinary or prove themselves to have others treat them nicely.

We also learn that Waneta has two goals that she is trying to achieve, and it’s great to have goals in life. However, one of her goals is to have two tusks. I didn’t like this goal as it suggested that Waneta wasn’t fine just the way she was. This idea of poor body image was compounded by her embarrassment of the missing tusk, where she covered the gap with her flipper to prevent others seeing it. Also, having a missing tusk is something that Waneta can’t change, so she was always going to fail in her goal. It would have been better to make the goal something that was actually achievable, even if in the end she didn’t manage to do it.

Waneta Walrus and her Blue Tutu is most suitable for lower primary school children. Older reluctant readers may also find this a good read. There are more books coming in this series soon.

 

*I received this book as a digital copy from the author, who asked me for an honest review of this book. I did not receive any other remuneration, and the review is composed entirely of my own opinions.

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Bone Collection: Animals by Rob Colson

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IMG_4093Bone Collection: Animals by Rob Colson and illustrated by Sandra Doyle, Elizabeth Gray and Steve Kirk, paperback non-fiction, published by Scholastic Australia in 2013.

Explore the animal world through their skeletons. Bone Collection: Animals covers a range of animals from fish and frogs to apes and humans. First it looks at the skeleton of a specific animal, then follows this with facts about similar animals. At the end of the book, there was a double page with a lion’s skeleton separated with the major bones named. There were also some general bone facts, and a glossary to help with some of the terms found within the text that may be unknown to a young reader.

A combination of illustrations, photos and diagrams alongside fascinating facts about a wide variety of creatures make this an excellent non-fiction text for primary school students. The illustrations of the skeletons throughout this book are exquisitely detailed. The depth of information is good for this age group, whilst also being interesting and presented in an appealing style.

My third grader read this book to me, and we both learnt quite a few things! She just wanted to keep reading until we were finished, as she was finding it so entertaining and enlightening. We liked that each page had a little diagram showing the relative size of the creature to an adult human. Her favourite animal was the three-toed sloth with its long arms and claws, while I found the blue whale’s humungous jaw bones very interesting.

Wild Discoveries Wacky New Animals by Heather L. Montgomery

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IMG_3949Wild Discoveries Wacky New Animals by Heather L. Montgomery, paperback non-fiction, published by Scholastic Inc. in 2013.

There are still millions of undiscovered species all over the world. This book showcases just a few of the most interesting creatures discovered recently, including a leech with large teeth, a frog with translucent skin and green bones, a blue earthworm, a tiny seahorse and a stick insect as long as your arm!

Wild Discoveries Wacky New Animals is an interesting read. Each page contains plenty of facts about each creature, including its scientific name, size, role and where it was discovered. There are also plenty of colour photographs depicting the animals and their various traits. There is a glossary of terms at the back of the book and a small section on kids discovering new animals.

An enticing non-fiction book for primary school children, Wild Discoveries Wacky New Animals would appeal to nature and animal lovers along with those interested in more unusual (or gross) fare. I cannot un-see the “snot flower” or the Atewa Hooded Spider, but I can refocus on the cute little Siau Island Tarsier! My third grader found this book fascinating, and is now looking into more wacky and strange animals.

Freaky Phobias by Joel Levy

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IMG_2519Freaky Phobias by Joel Levy, paperback non-fiction, 80 pages, published by Scholastic Australia in 2011.

This book is a fascinating insight into a range of phobias. It covers the most common ones, such as arachnophobia and claustrophobia, alongside some extremely unusual phobias. I never knew there was a word for the fear of otters or knees or kissing, but there is! And there are many other phobias that I had never considered, but discovered in Freaky Phobias.

Freaky Phobias is an informative and interesting book for primary aged children. I learnt quite a lot whilst reading Freaky Phobias, as did my second grader. It had a good depth of information for children, and plenty of fun facts to engage the reader. The photography depicted all of the terrors contained within the book with such clarity that my second grader wanted to skip some of the pages because she felt anxious.

Freaky Phobias contains an A-Z of Phobias, providing the names and descriptions of quite a few phobias. I think this glossary could have been enhanced by including the phonetic spelling of the names, as some of them are quite long and complicated words, which I had difficulty pronouncing.

This is quite a good non-fiction title for young learners (and big ones too!)

 

Fly Guy Presents Sharks by Tedd Arnold

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IMG_0513Fly Guy Presents Sharks by Tedd Arnold, paperback non-fiction reader, published by Scholastic Inc in 2013.

Fly Guy and Buzz head to the aquarium to learn about sharks in this informative reader. It contains plenty of photographs throughout the book, complementing the interesting factual text. And Fly Guy and Buzz are always there, leading the way to more knowledge on sharks.

Moving onto non-fiction titles can be a little scary as they often have longer and harder words, and are more complicated than their fictional counterparts. Using some well loved characters, such as Fly Guy and Buzz, is useful in piquing the interest of young readers, especially those that may be reluctant to try non-fiction. I was impressed with the simple and interesting layout and facts. There was enough factual information to sink your teeth into (sorry about that awful pun!) without it becoming overwhelming.

This book is aimed at lower primary school children as a reader, but I read it to my preschooler, and she really enjoyed it. She loves Fly Guy, so this book had appeal before we even opened it. My preschooler did learn some things about sharks, such as they breathe through gills and they don’t sleep, she was particularly impressed by the Great White Shark being able to smell blood from so far away. She told me she is glad she’s never met a shark! She also liked the comments that Buzz makes, and the picture of Fly Guy pretending to have shark teeth. Combining Fly Guy and such an engaging topic as sharks was a stroke of genius, and we look forward to reading more in the Fly Guy Presents series.

 

Jellyfish Picture

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Our pile of glitter and metallic glues.

Our pile of glitter and metallic glues.

We have a tub of glitter glue and metallic glue tubes that the kids use on all sorts of projects. I like using glitter glue over glitter as it is generally less messy (unless A leans in it and then spreads it all over the place…or dangles her hair in it), and it’s easier to place exactly where we want it. The downside is that the kids (especially A) put it on so thick it takes ages to dry, and we often need to leave our projects at least overnight to dry.

Drawing on her waves.

Drawing on her waves.

Today A used the glitter and metallic glues to draw a jellyfish picture. She started out painting fish, but they morphed into jellyfish. She also wanted to add an eel, but it grew tentacles and became a jellyfish too. She drew waves with some blue metallic glue, and sand with yellow glitter glue. There’s also some seaweed done in green metallic glue.

I like how glittery this picture is.

Drawing sand at the bottom of her picture.

Drawing sand at the bottom of her picture.

Making a jellyfish.

Making a jellyfish.

 

Paper Plate Aquarium

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Both L and A have been fascinated by the ocean and its inhabitants for a while now. They want to read books on ocean creatures, watch ocean documentaries, do sea creature craft, and watch The Little Mermaid and Finding Nemo over and over and over…  They also want some pet fish, but we just don’t have a good place where we could keep a fish tank at the moment, not with Baby T learning to climb on everything and pull things over. We improvised instead, and made some little aquariums using paper plates to hang in their rooms.

L's aquarium.

L’s aquarium.

Painting the plate blue.

Painting the plate blue.

First, the kids painted one of the plates blue to represent the water in their aquariums. This was fairly quick, but of course, we had to wait until they were dry. While that happened, the kids started colouring in their sea creatures with markers. L only coloured in a few of her creatures, as she only wanted to make one aquarium, but as A wanted to make two, she coloured all of hers in. I found the undersea creatures to colour in on the Crayola site. There are lots of colouring pages available to print there.

Colouring in.

Colouring in.

L cutting out her fish.

L cutting out her fish.

L only needed a little bit of help cutting her sea creatures out, but A asked me to do hers after she almost cut off the fish’s head. We used crepe paper to make sea weed, I just cut a few different green shades and some brown into strips. The kids glued some seaweed on, and then added their sea creatures. They both added some more strips of seaweed after this, making some of the animals appear to be hiding in the sea weed. This was their idea, and I love it.

Adding sea weed.

Adding sea weed.

Gluing on sea creatures.

Gluing on sea creatures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I made the lids for the aquariums using a second paper plate. I cut the centre out, leaving just the ridged bit around the edge. Then I taped some plastic cling wrap over the plate, creating a clear cover for the aquarium. We stuck the two paper plates together at the edges using tape, added some string to the top of each aquarium and hung them up.

A's aquariums.

A’s aquariums.

Frankfurt Octopuses

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This is a fun and interesting way to serve cocktail frankfurts. A friend of mine served these at an undersea themed birthday party last year, and I just had to try them for myself.

Frankfurt octopuses.

Frankfurt octopuses.

Surprisingly easy to make, the kids often ask for their frankfurts to be made into octopuses now. I use a sharp knife to cut into each frankfurt starting from about half-way up, slicing through the bottom half length-ways. Then I turn the frankfurt around and cut it through again, so now the bottom half is in quarters lengthways. Then each quarter is cut in half again to make eight tentacles. I have found it just as easy to cut through the two opposite quarters of the frankfurt at the same time, as it is to tackle each quarter separately.

Cut up ready to cook.

Cut up ready to cook.

Cooking in the pot.

Cooking in the pot.

Once the frankfurts are cooking, either on the stove top, or in the microwave, the tentacles will start to curl up and out, giving the frankfurts an octopus look.

 

 

The kids like to have tomato sauce with their frankfurts. They dip the octopus’ tentacles into the sauce and bite them off. While they were eating, I heard a lot of “I have a four-leg octopus” and “I have a no leg octopus!”. L even exclaimed she had a “no-head octopus” after she bit the top off her frankfurt.

Frankfurt octopuses ready to eat.

Frankfurt octopuses ready to eat.

 

Jelly-fish

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IMG_4769These wonderful jelly-fish were made using a paper bowl and scraps of various yarns, cotton, and ribbons. The ribbons were all collected from gifts we had been given for birthdays last year and were just sitting in the craft box awaiting their final purpose. It’s great when we can re-use something like that in our craft pursuits.

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Painting the top of the jelly-fish.

We ended up making three jelly-fish. First we painted the bowls, L picked orange, A picked blue and purple. I ended up finishing off the purple one though, as A got a bit tired of using the tiny detail brush she’d decided to paint with. She chose a much thicker brush for the blue paint, which allowed her to paint the bowl more quickly and easily.

While the bowls dried we sorted out our tentacles. I thought the jelly-fish would look better with tentacles of varying lengths, so I wasn’t very particular about the length of the pieces as I cut them up. I placed the tentacles into two piles, one for each child, so that they each had a range of different tentacles to choose from. I ended up needing to cut more yarn up as we ran out before we had finished. Some of the yarn was feathers, and some was a powderpuff yarn that was fluffy. I thought these yarns looked really good on the jelly-fish, and it gave them a bit more variety and texture, than if we’d just used plain yarns.

Taping on tentacles.

Taping on tentacles.

 

Attaching tentacles.

Attaching tentacles.

 

 

 

 

To stick the tentacles onto the bowl, we used sticky tape. The kids made bundles of several tentacle pieces together in some sticky tape, and then they taped that to the inside edge of the bowl. I found that it was easiest to use a longer length of tape, stick the tops of the tentacles along it, and then fold it over to form a rectangle of tape housing a number of tentacles, and then tape that section into the bowl. We continued doing this all the way around the edge of the bowl to give the jelly-fish a good coverage of tentacles.

 

Decorating with markers.

Decorating with markers.

L and A used some permanent markers to decorate the top of their jelly-fish. We also stuck on some googly eyes to the side of the bowl.

We hung the jelly-fish up in their rooms, and they look great with their tentacles wafting about in the breeze.

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Paper Plate Fish

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I love crafting with paper plates, they have so many uses 🙂 This time we used them to make fish. A whole plate for its body, and a quarter plate for its tail. I cut a triangle out of L’s for a mouth, but A decided to draw a mouth on for herself. The kids used collage materials and paint pens to decorate their fish. Once they were dry I punched a hole in the top of them so that we could attach some string and hang them up.

Gluing.

Gluing.

Adding pom poms.

Adding pom poms.

Sticking on tissue paper.

Sticking on tissue paper.

A's fish hanging up.

A’s fish hanging up.

L's fish.

L’s fish.