The Old Schoolhouse® Product & Curriculum Reviews

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Ocean Seasons Review by Heidi Strawser

By Ron Hirschi
Sylvan Dell Publishing
976 Houston Northcutt Blvd., Suite 3
Mount Pleasant, SC 29464

As a homeschooling mother, I am always looking for children's books that contain great education value, not just fluffy stories. Ocean Seasons is the type of book I love. This book is written on a third-grade reading level, but it has the quality of a great read-aloud that younger children would also enjoy listening to. Each two-page spread contains full-color illustrations that are fun to look at.

I love the Sylvan Dell tagline--"Science and Math through Literature." Science is not one of my strongest subjects. Because of this, I get excited when I find a book that my 7-year old can read on her own and learn lots of scientific facts from while she is reading. I have found that much more can be learned and retained through these types of books than through (often boring) textbooks. Ocean Seasons starts out with spring and works through all four seasons, explaining what is going on with ocean plants and animals during each season and introducing the concept of the food chain. In the back of the book (and on the website) are reproducible activity cards, designed to promote further learning.

I was pleased to find that the Sylvan Dell website also has a section called "Teaching Activities" that is broken down by book title. For Ocean Seasons alone, there are 56 pages of teaching ideas (such as writing prompts, vocabulary words, and reproducible worksheets). This is a homeschool parent's dream.

Ocean Seasons is a paperback book with very sturdy pages and a thick paper cover. It will hold up through lots of reading. It retails for $8.95 (US) and is well worth that price, especially considering all the additional resources available online to complement the book. This book would make a great starting point for, or addition to, a unit study on the ocean, the seasons, ocean life, or the food chain. Check out Sylvan Dell's other great selections as well.

Product review by Heidi Strawser, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, November 2007