Ocean Animals from Head to Tail

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  • Author: Stacey Roderick
  • Illustrator: Kwanchai Moriya
  • Year Published: 2016
  • ISBN: 978-1-77138-345-5

Science Topics

Minimum Suggested Grade Level

Maximum Suggested Grade Level


This is a non-fiction book on 8 different ocean animals. It uses a series of questions to introduce the animals. The students are asked to guess what ocean animal is shown. It shows the readers a glimpse of a body part and asks them, "What ocean animal has a mouth like this?" Then it shows the animal in its natural habitat and has a brief description of the animals traits. The students can observe that each ocean animal has its own special body part that makes them different than the other ocean animals.


  • Appropriateness: Medium
  • Authority: Medium
  • Accuracy: High
  • Liteary Artistry: High
  • Appearance: High


Does the book foster development of processes?

Yes, the book fosters for the development of the processes prediction, observation, inference, and classification. This book explicitly asks the students to guess what ocean animals are shown in the illustrations throughout the book. This provides various opportunities for inferences and predictions. Students that don’t have background on ocean animals would be making predictions and those that do would be inferring. The book also has several opportunities for observation. The book shows 8 different ocean animals in their natural habitat and the students are able to observe them. Lastly, the book provides an opportunity to classify ocean animals into further categories.

Does the book provide an opportunity for children to ask and answer their own questions?

Yes, if the students had questions about the illustrations before reading the text, they would receive a response in the description. For example, if they had a question about the name of the animal, they would then find out that it’s called a hammerhead shark because of its hammer shaped head. The teacher could also pause after the description of every ocean animal and the students could ask questions about the text.

Does the book encourage children to think for themselves?

Yes, the students are encouraged to think for themselves with a series of questions like, “What ocean animal has a head like this?” The book also encourages students to think for themselves because it only gives a brief description of the animals’ traits and the featured body parts. The book has an illustration of the animals’ natural habitats, but it doesn’t explicitly tell the students why the sailfish raise their tail for instance.

Is the science topic addressed in ways that are appropriate to the lesson?

The content is appropriate for the lesson whether the lesson is introduction to types of ocean animals or characteristics of living things.

Is the content based on sound scientific principles? Is it accurate?

For the most part the content is based on sound scientific principles. It shows how animals have predators and prey. It mentions some of the animals’ prey and how they catch them. For example, the blue whale eats shrimp-like creatures. The book then mentions the process of catching those creatures. Although the content is accurate, one of the illustrations doesn’t look very realistic. The hammerhead shark looks like it only has one eye and that they eye is on the bottom of his head instead of on the corner of the side.

Does the book distinguish between fact and fiction?

  • The book is purely facts; therefore it doesn’t need to distinguish between fact and fiction.

Are the illustrations clear and accurate?

The books illustrations are bright colored and are in the form of paper collage. The bright colors bring the animals to life and most of the illustrations are accurate. One of the illustrations doesn’t look very realistic. The hammerhead shark looks like it only has one eye and that they eye is on the bottom of his head instead of on the corner of the side.

Is the book written at the level of your students?

The book says its part of the 2x2 reading list, meaning from age 2 until second grade. Due to the vocabulary, I think the level of the book is appropriate for students in 2nd grade through 4th. Although the books illustrations are vivid and it could be for the younger grades because its very interactive and fun, the vocabulary is a little too elevated for those grades. I think that the vocabulary is even too elevated for the upper grades, but with scaffolding I think it can be done. Words like sieve, baleen, bristles, and tentacles can be confusing for kids who don’t have exposure to this jargon.

Is there a multicultural component? Is it free from stereotyping?

Since the book only includes ocean animals, there is no multicultural component and it is free from stereotyping.

Is the book free from gender bias?

Yes, the book is free from gender bias. There are no female or male characters.

Does the book show the close association between science and other disciplines?

There is a very little connection between science and other disciplines. The book does make a connection to math by mentioning distance. It mentions that a seahorse can travel longer distances by attaching itself to floating seaweed.

Does the book present a positive attitude toward science and technology?

The book does present a positive attitude towards science. It uses adjectives, fun facts, questions, and colorful images. There is no technology in the book.