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W Is for Waves: An Ocean Alphabet Review by Heather Jackowitz

By Marie and Roland Smith
Sleeping Bear Press
310 North Main Street, Suite 300
Chelsea, MI 48118

W Is for Waves by Marie and Roland Smith is one of Sleeping Bear Press's newest alphabet books. Each letter is presented with a simple rhyming couplet for young children. For example, "M is for Mollusks./This popular group/often end up/in somebody's soup." Then a detailed side panel gives more information for older readers, often presenting additional terms, such as "Mariana Trench" and "migration" for the letter M. These sidebars are two or three paragraphs full of interesting scientific and historical information about oceans. Topics range from the legendary lost island of Atlantis (A) to microscopic zooplankton (Z). Other topics include the Exxon Valdez oil spill, the Great Barrier Reef, icebergs, Jacques Cousteau, penguins, Queen Isabella and Columbus, sharks, tides, volcanoes, surfing, pirates, and the list goes on and on. Illustrator John Megahan's beautiful acrylic paintings are full of realistic detail and perfectly complement the text. Sleeping Bear Press offers a free 24-page downloadable study guide for W Is for Waves on their website. This guide offers a wide range of activities to complement the book--factual recall questions, puzzles, science projects, writing assignments (descriptive, narrative, expository, and persuasive), mapping and graphing exercises, an art project, ocean math problems, and a full answer key. This incredible study guide will turn W Is for Waves into an interesting unit study on oceans.

I love books that appeal to a wide range of ages, and W Is for Waves is just such a book! Little ones will enjoy the delightful artwork and rhyming couplets, and older children will enjoy the more detailed information. This is truly a fascinating and beautiful book for the whole family!

Product review by Heather Jackowitz, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, March 2008