Book Reviews Commotion in the Ocean by Giles Andreae

Commotion in the Ocean, by Giles Andreae, explores the undersea world. It shows many of the most common sea creatures. The picture book uses poetry to describe the pictures. They are colorful. The language makes it more appropriate for older children than for preschoolers. The story just pictures of creatures that live in the sea; there is no real commotion.


This book tells about oceans. It shows animals in the different oceans that are unique to each. Children can identify which animal lives in each ocean. Also, it shows the different habitats of the animals. The seashore, the shallow waters, the dark zone, and the very deep waters have different animals swim through them. Children can draw and make posters of the different zones using different colored papers and make a flipbook.


The facts about the marine creatures are not completely accurate. However, the majority of the book is. The book says that sharks grin.” Do they? Educators can teach lessons about dolphins, turtles, crabs, angelfish, jellyfish, and sharks. The book also talks about polar bears.


Older children will enjoy this book more than little ones because the story uses bigger words than preschoolers know. Adults will have to explain what the words mean. The book may not keep the children’s attention. However, a pop-up version of the book exists that helps with this. Children search for the sea star on each page.


Teachers can use pictures to have children tell their own stories. Some children will want to memorize the poems. Older children can participate in role-playing. They wear masks and act as the animal of their choice.


Play Who Am I? games with children. Use descriptions from the book and let children guess what creature it is.


For poetry characteristics, teaching rhyming words, fluency and rhythm, this book works well. Children can write their own poems about the different animals in the book. Start a group off by giving them two rhyming lines then let the class complete the poem.


Not all readers will not appreciate the poems which have a rather violent nature to them. “The jellyfish likes to jiggle, which other fish think is quite dumb…” Why are there insults in a children’s book? A lobster snips your fingers in two? A swordfish skewers fish?

Teachers can use the book to teach rhyming and identification of marine animals. The book works well during an ocean lesson. Young children like the rhymes and may ask adults to read it to them again and again.