I usually choose the next book I want to read and share with teachers and students, but this book chose me.
I was leaving the Children’s Department of my local library where Shelby and Watts: Tide Pool Troubles was on display. The brightly colored cover and spirited animals on the front caught my eye and the summary of the book prompted me to take it home.
This early reader graphic novel invites readers into the world of Shelby and Watts, a fox and badger who love learning new facts and solving mysteries together. After receiving a letter from Fred the Hermit Crab claiming all of the shells are missing from the beach and he cannot find one for himself to grow into, they set off to find where all the shells have gone.
Along the way, they meet new friends and track important clues in their notebook. Readers learn where hermit crabs live, what low and high tide are and the creatures that make up the rocky tide pools. Ultimately, they solve the mystery with their teamwork and inferring skills. But there’s so much more. Throughout the pages, there are interesting facts interspersed among the book to engage readers, too. Did you know Sea Cucumbers breathe through their butt?! I do now!
Want to see for yourself? Get a sneak peek into the first chapter of the book AND see Ashlyn Anstee’s artistic skills in action in this Facebook Live from Once Upon a Time Bookstore. Just click the image below!
This book was not only extremely engaging to read, it packed a powerful ecology lesson, too. Anstee includes Earth-Saving Tips From Shelby and Watts at the end of book. These include never taking shells or other natural materials from the beach, eating seafood from sustainable sources, leaving the beach cleaner than when you found it and even organizing a beach clean-up day. But not only that, she gives the WHY behind these recommendations, too, the perfect spark for students to indulge their curiosities and keep learning.
And the best part? There are more books in the series! Shelby and Watts decide to set up their own planetary investigation agency which means there are more adventures to come. A Mountain of a Problem was just published in February and looks just as good as this first book. How wonderful to have an early graphic novel series to not only hook students into reading, but into inquiry and social action, too.