As an ode to a summer day, it is delightful, but as an exploration of the five senses, it is masterful. Ryan moves carefully through each of the senses as the young beach-goer describes her experience.
Each of the senses is treated to several pages of evocative text and beautiful illustrations, and a concluding section repeats each of the senses, anticipating a return trip to the beach in the future.
The author emphasizes words relating to each sense by using bold font, and includes different forms of the verb for each (see/looks, hear/sounds, touch/feels, smell/smells, taste/tastes), ensuring that kids notice the sense being showcased. You might think that with this framework the language would sound stilted, but it doesn't. The story and rhyme flow beautifully.
This aspect of the story, along with rhyme and repetitive structure, helps the reader engage the listeners and builds anticipation about what the girl will experience next. Available in a Spanish/English bilingual format, the book makes this beach trip widely accessible.
When you read Hello Ocean aloud, encourage kids to point to their eyes, ears, hands, noses and mouths as the story works its way through the senses. Ask the kids to brainstorm more words describing the wind, sun, sand, salt water and all things beachy.
Many kids TRC serves may have never been to the beach. You can provide an actual sensory experience by bringing sand and shells to look at and touch (TRC has some in the office for your use), salt water and seaweed for the kids to taste, sunscreen to smell and audio recordings of ocean sound for kids to listen to. Round out the experience with towels and beach balls to play with, or set up a deep sea fishing expedition like this one at a Read-Aloud.
Whether you are reading books about beaches and oceans, summer adventure or the five senses, Hello Ocean will be a hit with the kids.
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