"Big as a bus and smaller than seeds, billions of babies are born in the ocean...." This opening line and later refrain entices readers into a magical, real-life world. Through lyrical, read aloud text and light-hearted and beautiful illustration, Ocean Babies presents the animal babies of the ocean. The giant blue whale contrasts with tiny coral polyps, sea horses pop from their fathers' pouches, and bat rays spread wing fins to fly through the ocean for the first time. Did you know that sea otter pups are helpless at birth and need to learn to swim from their parents? Did you know that orca babies look exactly like their parents, while baby emperor angelfish change colors completely in adulthood? Children see an array of charmingly illustrated ocean babies with their parents and also get a gentle introduction to animal life strategies and patterns, such as migration and predation. Fascinating back matter notes on the art and text add another layer of information to the lilting main text with details on habitat, behavior, and animal strategies and life cycles.
School Library Journal
"This gorgeous picture book is perfect for sharing the wonders of marine life with young children. Through simple, poetic text, Rose highlights the variety of creatures found in the sea: 'Big as a bus” (a blue whale calf) 'and smaller than seeds' (the offspring of a coral reef), 'billions of babies are born to the ocean.' The narrative goes on to describe, in very basic terms, the various ways in which these animals are born and learn to swim, what they eat, and how they live, all accompanied by Nakata’s fluid watercolors. The last four pages offer thumbnails of the earlier illustrations, along with more detailed information about the species portrayed. This book beautifully captures the magic of the ocean world and will work equally well in storytime, in the classroom, or for one-on-one sharing."
"This well-written, nonfiction picture book introduces the variety of baby creatures in the ocean, pointing out how they differ and what they have in common. The text establishes an amiable tone, sometimes addressing children directly and sometimes simply presenting information. Every short line or phrase in the picture-book section of the book is reinforced in the three-page appendix, where each one is repeated, accompanied by a postage stamp-size illustration and expanded by a paragraph of thoughtful, informative text. Nakata’s cheerful watercolor paintings clearly illustrate the book’s ideas while creating a beautiful undersea setting, bright with colors, teeming with varied creatures, and studded with intriguing details. Many books present information in this format, but few manage to stay as focused on the topic and sensitive to the intended audience as this one."