Ocean of Possibilities: Picture Books

Click the title or book jacket image to see more detail about the book and for information on borrowing from the library.

HEY!: A Colorful Mystery

by Read, Kate

All is quiet in the deep blue sea, when a rumor bursts forth about a “great big fish hiding in the deep!” One by one, new fish are sucked into the growing story–the red octopus was really rattled, which petrified the purple puffer fish, and startled the blue shoal, until they all flee…into a deep, dark cave. Uh-oh! That’s no cave at all, but the mouth of a whale!

Off to See the Sea

by Grimes, Nikki

Night has fallen and Mom and Dad need to get their little one in the tub. To make it more fun, Mom brings a magical adventure out at sea to life, where the faucet is a waterfall, a rubber ducky is a sea creature, and the splashing water is a raging sea! In their ocean journey, Mom and Dad manage to get their little one clean just in time to dock for bedtime.

My Ocean is Blue

by Lebeuf, Darren

A girl’s poetic exploration of the ocean she loves.”This is my ocean,” the young girl begins as she heads over the dunes with her mother. Then, passing the day at the seaside, she lyrically describes her ocean in simple, sensory detail. It is both “slimy” and “sandy,” “sparkly” and “dull.” It has wonderful sounds, as it “splashes and crashes and echoes and squawks.” And there are so many colors, from “rusted orange” to “polished green.” Though “mostly it’s blue.” Nothing escapes the girl’s careful observations. And at day’s end, she can’t wait to for her next trip to the beach.This enchanting nature companion will awaken the explorer in every child.

The Fisherman and the Whale

by Lanan, Jessica

A wordless picture book in which a fisherman finds a whale caught in fishing nets and sets it free. Lanan’s dreamy and dramatic watercolor paintings bring to life a wordless story about wonder in the natural world. Includes an Author’s Note about the environmental impact of contemporary commercial fishing practices.

We’re Going on a Treasure Hunt

by DiPucchio, Kelly

In this imaginative twist on the storytime classic “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt,” a crew of adorable animal pirates is on a high-seas quest for treasure.

Saffron Ice Cream

by Kheiriyeh, Rashin

A joyous celebration of a girl’s first family outing in a new country.

Whale in a Fishbowl

by Howell, Troy

A moving, poetic story about a whale in captivity who longs for the ocean…because whales don’t belong in fishbowls, do they?


by Reynolds, Aaron

Dude, you have to read this book. It’s totally about this platypus and this beaver who are friends. They want to go surfing but dude, there’s this shark who’s in the ocean, too. But don’t worry. This shark approaches and you’ll never guess what happens.

Plankton is Pushy

by Fenske, Jonathan

In this funny, underwater picture book, Plankton says hello to Mussel, but Mussel doesn’t say anything back. Plankton tries everything to get quiet Mussel to talk. In fact, Plankton gets VERY pushy about it Will Mussel ever open his mouth? Kids will relate to Plankton’s frustration with Mussel, and they will be anxious to see what happens when Mussel finally does open his mouth…

Pete the Cat and the Treasure Map

by Dean, James

When Captain Pete discovers a treasure map, he and his crew are ready to set out and sail the seas to find the buried gold and jewels. But they weren’t expecting to find a giant sea monster along the way!

Barnacle is Bored

by Fenske, Jonathan

Barnacle is stuck on the underside of a pier, wishing he had something to do. Every day is exactly the same. The tide comes in and Barnacle gets wet. The tide goes out and Barnacle dries off. Boring Barnacle wants something EXCITING to happen. Then a colorful fish swims by. Barnacle bets the fish doesn’t have a boring life. In the end, it turns out exciting isn’t always better…

Sea Rex

by Idle, Molly Schaar

What could that be down in the sea?

The Whale in My Swimming Pool

by Wan, Joyce

The story of a boy who discovers a whale in his pool one hot summer day.

Out of the Blue

by Jay, Alison

Count the animals from one to twenty while searching for the cat in this lively hide-and-seek selection that introduces animals like frogs, whales, monkeys, ducks, hens and elephants.

If You Want to See a Whale

by Fogliano, Julie

In this quiet and beautiful picture book a boy learns exactly what it takes to catch a glimpse of an elusive whale.

I Spy Under the Sea

by Gibbs, Edward

Look through each eye-catching spy hole to count a new underwater creature.

Surfer Chick

by Dempsey, Kristy

Catch a wave with this totally RAD picture book.

Coral Reefs

by Chin, Jason

During an ordinary visit to the library, a girl pulls a not-so-ordinary book from the shelves. As she turns the pages in this book about coral reefs, the city around her slips away and she finds herself surrounded by the coral cities of the sea and the mysterious plants and animals that live, hunt, and hide there.

A Beach Tail

by Williams, Karen Lynn

How will Gregory find his way back to Dad?Swish-swoosh . . . Gregory draws a lion in the sand. Don’t go in the water, and don’t leave Sandy, warns Dad. But the sandy lion grows a tail that gets longer and longer–and soon Gregory is lost on the beach. This wonderful read-aloud book brings to life a summer experience that is all too familiar for young children.

I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean

by Sherry, Kevin

When a giant squid takes inventory of all the creatures in the ocean, he realizes that he’s much bigger than most of them, and soon his ego is the biggest thing of all. Includes a special gatefold and bonus bathtub stickers.

Over in the Ocean: In a Coral Reef

by Berkes, Marianne Collins

Five baby pufferfish “puff,” seven angelfish “graze,” and ten seahorses “flutter” about the coral reef in this fun introduction to the denizens of a reef. Set to the rhythm of “Over in the Meadow,” this title is also not only a counting book, but also an inspiration to make fishy shapes from clay, because the remarkable, colorful art in this picture book is entirely constructed from clay-like material.

The Snail and the Whale

by Donaldson, Julia

When a tiny snail meets a humpback whale, the two travel together to far-off lands. It’s a dream come true for the snail, who has never left home before. But when the whale swims too-close to shore, will the snail be able to save her new friend?

Sea, Sand, Me

by Hubbell, Patricia

A young girl enjoys building sandcastles, splashing in the sea, and making a new friend during an afternoon at the beach.

The Wretched Stone

by Van Allsburg, Chris

In a story recounted through the daily log of Captain Allan Hope, the sailors aboard the Rita Anne become mesmerized and transformed by a mysterious glowing rock, and only music and books can restore them to normal.

Beach Day

by Roosa, Karen

In this charming picture book, a cheerful family tumbles out of the car and onto the beach, ready for a perfect day.