The ocean is a vast and mysterious place, and what better way to explore it than with this collection of twenty amazing aquatic picture books? Meet countless underwater creatures, dive into their habitats, and discover all the FIN-tastic secrets of the ocean—all without dipping a toe in the water!
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Over and Under the Waves
by Kate Messner and Christopher Silas Neal
This picture book is a poetic exploration of the sights and sounds of the ocean as a family kayaks on the waves. During their journey, they watch whales and birds and enjoy all of the visible ocean life, while imagining the fish and sea creatures far below them.
Deep in the Ocean
by Lucie Brunellière
Join a little submarine on its journey deep into the ocean to visit dozens of underwater creatures! Learn their names, see the variety of shapes and sizes, and enjoy the intricately-designed artwork in this delightful exploration of underwater habitats and the plethora of creatures that live in them.
Monsters in the Briny
by Lynn Becker and Scott Brundage
Sung to the tune of a well-known sea shanty, Monsters in the Briny is a hilarious romp through a world of outrageous sea creatures and the silly solutions the sailors invent for the monsters’ even sillier problems! This one is a definite read-aloud, or even a sing-aloud!
Spencer and Vincent, the Jellyfish Brothers
by Tony Johnston and Emily Dove
Spencer and Vincent are two inseperable jellyfish brothers. So when Vincent is swept away by a Wave of Superior Magnitude, Spencer knows he’ll do anything it takes to rescue his brother, even if it means setting off on a long and dangerous journey.
The Pout-Pout Fish
by Deborah Diesen and Dan Hanna
Mr. Fish is always pouting, always glum, and always spreading discontent with his down-in-the-dumps attitude. No matter how many of his deep-sea friends try to cheer him up, he’s just not having it. Is there anything that could turn this fish’s frown upside down?
Oceans of Love
by Janet Lawler and Holly Clifton-Brown
The love of a parent for a child is as big and deep as the ocean, and that holds true for undersea parents, too! This is a charming and imaginative look at how sea creatures like minnows, manta rays, and hermit crabs might show their love.
Oona and the Shark
by Kelly DiPucchio and Raissa Figueroa
Oona the mermaid doesn’t know which she loves more: making friends or making inventions! So when she meets a shark named Stanley, she’s pretty sure she can become his friend by inventing something super special for him. But what if she can’t figure out what he really wants?
Down, Down, Down: A Journey to the Bottom of the Sea
by Steve Jenkins
With gorgeous collage-style illustrations, this informative picture book details the various types of ocean life found at different depths. Curious readers will love the back pages chock full of additional information and graphs that teach more about the creatures in the book.
Inky the Octopus
by Erin Guendelsberger and David Leonard
You’ve never seen such a charming (and expressive!) octopus! Inky longs to leave his aquarium tank behind and find out what life is like in the big blue sea. But how will he get out there to begin his journey of discovery? It will take an ingenious escape plan to make his dream come true!
The Heart of a Whale
by Anna Pignataro
A lonely whale swims through the sea, wishing there was someone who could sing with him. If he could only find someone, maybe his heart wouldn’t feel so empty! With luminous watercolor illustrations, this lyrical celebration of a whale’s heartfelt song is sure to warm the hearts of readers, too.
Crab Cake: Turning the Tide Together
by Andrea Tsurumi
All the fish and other creatures in the ocean have their different daily routines: dolphins blow bubbles, seahorses blend in with the seaweed, and crab… well, crab bakes cake! But when something strange interrupts the flow of life under the sea, will anyone be able to find normal again?
To the Sea
by Cale Atkinson
When Sam the whale gets stuck in the city, he needs help getting back to the sea! But what he really needs is a friend, and that’s where Tim comes in. In this fantastical tale of determination and friendship, a little boy will do anything to help his giant new friend get back home, no matter what it takes.
How to Hug a Pufferfish
by Ellie Peterson
Pufferfish has lots of friends, and they all want to show her how much they appreciate her—by giving her a big hug! But Pufferfish can get mighty prickly about being hugged. Can her friends still find a way to let her know they care?
by Eric Carle
This vibrant picture book is an engaging look at seahorses and all the fascinating (and funny!) ways fish of all varieties take care of their eggs. Young readers will especially love the transparent “peek-a-boo” pages that add an extra element of surprise!
by Ame Dyckman and Scott Magoon
When a shark inadvertently interrupts an underwater TV show, he realizes this is his chance to prove that sharks aren’t scary—they’re just misunderstood! But can he resist the temptation to chow down on his fellow sea creatures long enough to prove his point?
Shark Lady: The True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean's Most Fearless Scientist
by Jess Keating and Marta Álvarez Miguéns
This biography tells the story of Eugenie Clark, a pioneering scuba diver and ichthyologist (fish scientist) who made studying sharks a huge part of her life’s work.
Wendell the Narwhal
by Emily Dove
Wendell the narwhal just wants to be able to make music like everyone else in the ocean. But the problem is, he’s not any good at making melodious sounds. All he has is his tusk, and that just doesn’t work as an instrument. But maybe there’s still a way he can be part of the band…
by Patrick McDonnell and Naoko Stoop
A little sea star longs to live up in the sky with all the stars that shine at night. She doesn’t think it’s possible for her to shine under the water, and no matter how hard her friends try to cheer her up, nothing helps… until she meets someone who can teach her what it really means to shine.
The Crab Ballet
by Renée M. LaTulippe and Cécile Metzger
A lovely, lyrical tale told in rhyming text, this charming book invites readers to share in the beauty of an underwater ballet. Crabs, dolphins, fish, and all the other “aquatic superstars” dance, dive, and swim their way through this exquisite two-act performance. (Best of all, it’s written by AALP’s very own Renée LaTulippe!)
Would you like to read some of our favorite picture books about underwater creatures with your children? Click to download my list to take to your local library.
Looking for MORE books? You can find more great library lists here!
Do you have a favorite picture book about underwater creatures? Please share it in the comments and we’ll add it to our Readers’ Picks list!
Be sure to check out our Something Fishy review book! It includes 16 full-color activities, designed to help students review reading and spelling words in fun and engaging ways.
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