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Under the Sea Topic

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Under the Sea Topic Booklist (EYFS & KS1)

Dive into the Under the Sea topic and make a splash – there’s so much to explore! From crabs and coral reefs to shorelines and sharks, we’ve got it all covered in our hand-picked selection of the best children’s books about oceans and seas for children in EYFS and KS1.

NB: This booklist is aimed at children aged 4-7. For sea-themed books for older children, try our Oceans and Seas KS2 list.

Books about fish

Marcus Pfister
A classroom classic that his become treasured by children and adults alike. Rainbow Fish has glittering scales and is the most beautiful fish in the ocean. When his vanity gets in the way of friendships with the other ocean creatures, Rainbow Fish becomes lonely and isolated. He shares his beautiful scales and learns that connecting with others is much more important than being the shiniest fish. A lovely storytime favourite about he value of sharing and friendship.
This vibrant picture book captures the incredible kaleidoscope of colour belonging to Australia's Great Barrier Reef. Terry is NOT a fancy fish – he's humdrum-coloured, which means the spectacular tropical fish don't notice him. So, Terry uses seaweed and bits and bobs to construct a rainbow tail. Now the tropical fish are desperate to play with Terry....that is until a big hungry eel arrives looking for dinner! This funny picturebook with brilliant dialogue is a tropical treat.
Kate Read
Boo!: A Fishy Mystery is a glorious underwater adventure from the creator of the award-winning One Fox: A Counting Book Thriller, featuring a host of sea creatures from an orange crab to a green turtle, a yellow eel and even a purple puffer fish It all begins with one tiny pink fish who sets off a chain reaction of chaos beneath the waves until suddenly - SNAP! - she finds herself all alone in the ocean. Where has everyone gone, and how can such a tiny creature rescue her friends? Kate Read's stunning illustrations are as rich and bright as an aquarium of tropical fish and readers will love following the trail of colourful creatures through to the surprise ending. There's even a page at the end showing you how to mix your own colours.
Lucy Cousins
Here at BooksForTopics HQ we are big fans of Lucy Cousins' bright and colourful artwork. This simple rhyming text showcases a whole host of imaginative fish in all their splendour, including ele-fish, eye fish and curly-wurly fish! This is a great book to get imaginations whirring in EYFS.
Julia Donaldson
 & Axel Scheffler
Tiddler is a fish who is always late for school. Every day he arrives with a different tall story about why he is not there on time, until one day he finds himself caught up in a big adventure that will make him very, very late indeed! A fun, rhyming story with a repeated refrain.

Books about whales

Rachel Bright
 & Jim Field
Humphrey the whale is on a quest: to find the one perfect object that will make him feel complete. He roams far and wide, gathering endless undersea treasure as he goes. Yet, no matter how many goodies he accumulates, Humphrey still doesn't feel content. Could it be friendship, not possessions, that will really make Humphrey's heart sing? A sparkling rhyming tale that encourages sharing and kindness, this heartwarming story of friendship is perfect for reading aloud.
Benji Davies
Noi lives by the sea with his fisherman father and life there can feel pretty lonely sometimes. When Noi discovers a little whale washed up on the beach, he takes it home to care for it in his bath tub. But there are two problems; the first is that keeping it a secret from his dad will be tougher than he thinks and the second is that whales really belong in the depths of the sea. This engaging and empathetic picture book is a great choice for KS1.
Jenni Desmond
Non-fiction Picturebook
This is a beautifully illustrated non-fiction picture book all about the blue whale. The text is informative and filled with interesting details and the engaging illustrative style gives the book an almost story-like appeal. The book helps children to get a sense of the sheer vastness of these creatures, comparing their size to relatable everyday objects like vehicles or milk bottles. Engaging, appealing and highly recommended for KS1.

Books about other sea creatures


Patricia Hegarty
 & Britta Teckentrup
Discover a world beneath the waves that is teeming with life, from tiny graceful seahorses to darting tropical fish and from electric eels to humpback whales. A colourful array of sea creatures is brought to life by award-winning illustrator Britta Teckentrup in this delightful peep-through picture book.
Becky Davies
 & Jennie Poh

It’s time for Little Turtle to leave the nest and venture out into the vast, beautiful ocean. As she grows, so does her love of her new surroundings as she swims further and journeys to the other side of the world, and back. On her return, Little Turtle realises that she does not recognise the ocean she loves. Something has changed and not for the better. Where are the other creatures? Why are they silent?

Michael Foreman
A boy and his grandfather watch as a baby seal is born on the rocks near their home and from that day a special friendship is created between them. Despite his disability, the boy is a keen surfer, and he enjoys many afternoons surfing with the seals. One day, however, he gets into trouble in rough seas, and the young seal saves him. Their friendship brings happiness and meaning at the important stages of the boy's life

Books about exploring the oceans

Simon Bartram
This is a wonderful picturebook from Simon Bartram, author of the very popular 'Man on the Moon'. The story is told in a diary format and it details the adventures of Dougal as he discovers the world of Atlantis. The text is accompanied with appealing illustrations showcasing the spectacular diversity of ocean life.
Laura Knowles
 & Vivian Mineker
This charming concertina book follows the journey of a little submersible on a voyage beneath the waves, down into the deep dark ocean and back again. Folding out to nearly 2.5 metres, children can look at all the different things the sub sees on its way, as it travels past a shipwreck, through a coral reef, near to a pod of orcas hunting for their lunch, close to a leatherback turtle feasting on jellyfish, and past some rather strange deep-sea fish. Playful text guides the journey, providing a fun shared experience and a conversation starter for parents and young children. The reverse side of the concertina features spot illustrations picked out from the main scene, with more expansive information about submarines, ocean life and the dangers it is facing.
Caryl Hart
 & Bethan Woollvin

This delightful, illustrated adventure is the perfect introduction to the sheer variety of habitats beneath the waves and the different types of oceans and seas around the planet. Little ones are introduced to sea creatures, ocean climates and the importance of caring for our seas through a rhyming story that sees the different oceans gently personified. Fun and original, this is a great choice for curious minds in younger classrooms and was also voted ‘Best Curriculum Support’ in our Teachers’ Favourites awards.

Non-fiction books about the sea

Yuval Zommer
This large-sized informative compendium is the kind of non-fiction that children like to come back to again and again to pore over its pages. Each double-page spread dives into a different sea-themed question, such as 'Are jellyfish made of jelly?' or 'Why do crabs run sideways?'. There is never too much text on each page, but what you find is accessible chunks of information cleverly interspersed into each ocean scene. The illustrations are stunning and come together to make wonderful spreads that serve as a treasure trove of visual delights for young eyes, as text and pictures work together to build an understanding of underwater habitats and the life they hold.
Natasha Durley
This is not your average book about beasts! Rather than separating out animals into families, it hones-in on their unusual features, from shiny shells to fantastic fins. It's a super-eclectic introduction to marine biology that will make you smile.
Megan Cullis
 & Bao Luu
This non-fiction text is a celebration of life under the sea. Its flaps and cartoon-style illustrations will keep children engaged as they learn about incredible underwater worlds. Topics covered include marine life, habitats, ocean zones and coral reefs.

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