Ocean of Love (Janet Lawler)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Ocean of Love, written by Janet Lawler and illustrated by Holly Clifton-Brown, an undersea celebration of the love between mother and child.

Just as they do on land, the moms of the ocean are dedicated to sharing their love with their little ones. Whether it’s a minnow mom picking out just the right “school” for her young, or a mama dolphin playing all day with her pod, or a mother octopus untangling her wee one’s tentacles, there’s no shortage of ways moms can express their love. After all, while there are plenty of creatures in the deep blue sea, no one loves them more than their mamas.

Very cute, if slightly shallow. The classic theme of a mother’s love is a perennial favorite for picture book treatment, and this one does a serviceable job of exploring it with a collection of ocean-dwelling creatures. Most of these depictions are far from accurate visually or scientifically (clams and jellyfish have large and prominent eyes, sharks and hermit crabs care for their young, etc.), which may be confusing for young readers who are not familiar with the animals and/or do not understand the subtle parallels being drawn between the fictional creatures and human mothers. The book’s standout feature is the colorful digital illustrations, with characters designs so adorable that they manage to make even barnacles endearing; I particularly liked the inclusion of a multiracial mother and child pair used for the final spread. The length is fine for an elementary storytime, and JJ enjoyed the artwork a lot. Overall, this one is a little lacking, but still worth the read, especially as an ode to motherly devotion. Baby Bookworm approved.

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

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