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Shimmer & Splash: The Sparkling World of Sea Life

Last updated Monday, November 4, 2019

Author: Jim Arnosky
Date of Publication: 2013
ISBN: 1402786239
Grade Level: 4th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Nov. 2019

Synopsis: What can you see in the deep blue sea? Dolphins, stingrays, men o' war, and more! In Shimmer & Splash, acclaimed author and artist Jim Arnosky captures the endless variety of spectacular marine species. From the beautiful (starfish, coral reefs) to the scary (sharks, barracudas) to the yucky (jellyfish), these undersea inhabitants will amaze kids…especially in the seven fantastic gatefolds!

Note to readers:
•  This is sort of an encyclopedia of sea life. Be sure to show the illustrations, especially the fold out pages.
•  Explain what "not to scale" means so pictures have more meaning
•  Be sure to point out the actual size of some of the teeth, specially for the sharks.
•  The "Introduction" is a great place to start! Feel free to skim through the pages and choose pages/sea animals that most interest the children.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Have you visited the aquarium, Sea World or went whale watching? What interested you the most? If you haven't, would you like to go and why?
•  When was the last time you visited the ocean? What did you observe about sea life?
•  What is your favorite sea creature?
•  What creatures look scary? What ones look friendly?
•  What do you think it is like at the bottom and/or deep parts of the ocean?


•  Aquarium -- a transparent tank of water containing fish and other water creatures

•  cartilaginous -- an animal with a skeleton made of cartilage

•  mammal -- a warm-blooded vertebrate animal that has hair of fur, nourishes it's young with milk secreted by the mother, and typically gives birth to live offspring

•  tentacles -- an animal's slender, flexible limb or appendage used for grasping or moving

•  vastness -- very great extent or size

•  flexible -- capable of bending easily without breaking

•  kindred -- similar in kind; related

•  undulating -- having a smoothly rising and falling form or outline

•  hermit -- a person living in solitude as a religious discipline

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  What "ocean dweller" was your favorite to learn about?
•  What sea creatures interest you the most? Why?
•  Which sea creatures are the scariest?
•  What sea animal was missing?

Craft ideas:
•  Create an ocean map: make sure to place sea creatures where they usually would be found in the ocean and/or beach. It might be helpful to label each for future reference. For fun, include one random sea creature you would unlikely find in the ocean.
•  Write a letter to your favorite sea animal. Use this opportunity to ask them questions you are curious about i.e. Why do people think you are a scary animal? Or you can discuss how you can relate to the sea creature i.e. "Like the fiddler crab, I am also a hermit..."
•  Create a short story about the sea animals you learned about today. The more it looks like an actual book, the better. Have them choose their audience, the title, etc. as well.
•  Draw your own version of what the sea creatures look like.
•  Draw an imaginary sea creature or monster
•  Make a Thanksgiving greeting card.
•  Check our craft ideas on Pinterest!

Special activities:
•  Each child pretends they are coming out in the news after finding one of the sea creatures listed in the book at the beach. As part of their report, they can share information about what the sea animal looks like and other descriptive information.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!