In Arctic Waters

Eclectic Homeschool Onlne - December 2011

In Arctic Waterstakes you to the top of the world, with a repetitious text on the order of "The House that Jack Built," accompanied by playful illustrations that evoke icebergs and arctic creatures. The book is suited to the youngest listeners; while one creature might pursue another with dinner as the object, none of the animals comes to harm in the reading.

Examiner - February 2011

In Arctic Waters is a cleverly written book in which each rhyme builds on the previous one in the style of the Mother Goose favorite, "This Is the House That Jack Built," but it carries a unexpected twist at the end. Check it out from our local Gail Borden Poplar Creek, or Batavia libraries to enjoy with your little one as you explore the Arctic waters and befriend the animals together. - Elizabeth MacKinney

NSTA Recommends - April 2007

This delightful tale, written in verse and prose, follows the form of “This is the House that Jack Built.” It is aimed at children aged 3-7 years. The story includes fish, polar bears, walruses, seals, narwhals, and beluga whales as they chase each other around “the ice that floats in the Arctic waters.”

Not only is the rhythmic, cumulative prose good for early readers but also it would be a joy to read aloud to a class. Students would be eager to join in and repeat some of the phrases as they become more familiar with the story. This is a book that young children would request listening to several times. Each page contains a small amount of simple text and beautiful color illustrations. At the end of the book is a special section titled “For Creative Minds,” which can serve as a resource for teachers who want to help children learn how these animals live in the cold, icy arctic region. Specific details about the environment, the Inuit people, and the animals in the story are contained in this section.

Several examples of arctic adaptations are described and explained. The final page is a black-line master to photocopy and put together to create a mix-and-match color/activity book. Any primary level teacher who wishes to include the study of the arctic habitat should add this book to his or her repertoire. It would be an engaging way to introduce a unit, as well as focus on a specific animal the teacher wishes to include.  - Marilyn Marks

Stories for Children Magazine - Oct 2008

I really loved this cleverly written book with the colorful, kid-friendly illustrations.  Author Laura Crawford did an excellent job with her rhyming text that introduces each arctic animal and then builds on sentences that make for a fun read.  I give this one a high five for its terrific text, storyline, and awesome, refreshing illustrations.  If your children love water and animals, this is the book for them!

As with all Sylvan Dell books, there's a section at the end entitled "For Creative Minds" that is also available online.  It contains sections on: "Arctic Waters", "The Inuit", "Arctic Animal Adaptations", "Polar Bears", "Walruses", "Seals", "Narwhals", and "Beluga Whales". There is also a section on:  "Creative Sparks – Mix and Match Activity Book".

In addition, readers can find cross-curricular “Teaching Activities,” an audio reading, child-friendly “Learning Links,” and comprehension and math quizzes for free at - Gayle Jacobson-Huset, Editor

School Library Journal - April 2007

PreS-Gr 3...The story builds as each creature is chased by a slightly larger one. When a man (a rosy-cheeked Inuit with harpoon in hand) appears on their ice chunk, the animals have a stroke of good luck: the ice splits in two, separating them from the hunter. The rhyming text is fast-moving and fun. Cartoon facial expressions range from gleeful to panic-stricken... A four-page information section provides basic facts about each of the animals featured, the Inuit, and Arctic waters in general. A cut-and-color activity and Web address are also included.– Amanda Moss, Maywood Elementary School, Monona, WI

Library Media Connection - August/September 2007

Written in rhyming verse, this illustrated picture book introduces some of the animals that live in the Arctic waters. It begins in the style of "This is the House that Jack Built," introducing the animals in the order of the food chain, although no mention is made in the text about predators and prey. The animals appear to be playing with each other until a human hunter (Inuit) appears, the ice cracks, and they scramble for another piece of ice to swim around. The animals, though illustrated with correct physical features, have cute human-like facial expressions. The last few pages are dedicated to factual information about each of the animals, the Inuit, and the Arctic waters. In addition, there is a mix-and-match activity book that may be copied for classroom use, or downloaded from the Sylvan Dell home page. The Web site also has a section of links to information and activities. Taken alone, the book is a fun read-aloud, and one children will enjoy on their own. With the addition of the activities and factual information, it provides many avenues for extended learning. Recommended. - Sharon Gonzalez - February 2007

In Arctic Waters ($15.95, Sylvan Dell Publishing) tells the story of the creatures that inhabit that cold place. Written by Laura Crawford and illustrated by Ben Hodson, this book is ideal for those aged 4 to 8. It is a great read-aloud book with an easy rhyming story of walruses, narwhals, polar bears, seals and whales. This publisher specializes in educational books for young readers and its various titles are worth checking out at - Alan Caruba

The Midwest Book Review - February 2007

Written by third-grade teacher Laura Crawford and illustrated by award-winning children's book artist Ben Hodson, In Arctic Waters is a playful children's picturebook that narrates an arctic water adventure among different native creates in a "House that Jack Built" style poem. As the animals chase one another in the waters around an iceberg, suddenly a human hunter appears to change everything! The final portion of In Arctic Waters is an educational supplement that teaches young people more facts about the arctic and its native animals, as reviewed for accuracy by wildlife experts. Highly recommended.

Children's Literature Comprehensive Database - April 2007

This original, fun-filled cumulative rhyming tale follows the format of the House that Jack Built and brings Arctic creatures up close to children in a whimsical way. The story brims with lively verbs (circles, chases, swims, teases, splashes, swats, hunts) that will keep listeners’ attention. The phrases “small and quick; blubbery thick; big and strong; bouncing along; ready to fight; furry and white” repeat over and over and describe the fish, beluga, narwhal, seal, walrus, and the polar bear who circle an iceberg in the Arctic waters. The enticing repetition of text allows children to join in the fun and participate in the reading. Near the tale’s end, an Arctic hunter appears. This appearance adds humor and on a higher level exposes children to other cultures and practices and leads to a good discussion on the subject. Illustrations of the Arctic creatures offer a clear understanding of how these animals look. As with all Sylvan Dell books, teachers and parents will discover an added bonus in the form of facts and activities at the end of the book, as well as from the company’s website. Be sure to add this book to preschool and elementary shelves for enjoyment and use it to supplement science, geography, or math lessons. It will be a popular kids’ choice. - Nancy Garhan Attebury

Armchair Interviews - February 2007

Written for the rhyme "This is the House that Jack Built," In Arctic Waters grew out of a science unit on the Arctic. Laura Crawford was intrigued with the animals of the region and created this fascinating story for her third grade class. Like the original rhyme, children will be delighted by the rhythm of Crawford's story:

"This is the seal, bouncing along
That teases the narwhal, big and strong..."

Ben Hodson's illustrations are bright, engaging, and sure to delighted children. They will enjoy looking at the pictures as much as hearing the story. This quickly became a favorite for the three year old I read it to, and he has now memorized parts of the rhyme.

In Arctic Waters is published by Sylvan Dell Publishing, a young company committed to creating picture books to excite children's imagination. Each book contains a compelling story supplemented by a "3 to 5 page 'For Creative Minds' section that includes fun facts, crafts, vocabulary and support National Science and Math Standards."

Carefully vetted by experts in the field (scientists and educators) to ensure scientific accuracy, these volumes are sure to engage your child's creative spirit.

Certainly I had no idea that a walrus' age is calculated by counting the rings in their teeth, the same as is done with trees. The child I read In Arctic Waters to was delighted to find out that walruses use their whiskers to touch and feel; however he was most intrigued to find out that beluga whales shed their skin in the summer by rubbing on gravel.

"Learning Links" and "Teaching Activities" for the book can be found at

Armchair Interviews says: The educational part in the back always adds so much. - Janelle Martin

Wee Ones Children's Magazine - March/April 2007

Rhythmic fun, In Arctic Waters reads almost like a song. Arctic animals join in on the fun as they chase each other around the ice. Suddenly, man, who hunts the Arctic animal appears, the ice breaks and the fun is lost- but not really! The animals find another piece of ice to chase each other around.

Colorful illustrations capture the cold Arctic landscape and the animals that reside there. A special section in the back called "Creative Minds" teaches children about the Arctic and the different animals found there. It's a sweet book that children will delight in reading on many levels. - Jennifer Reed

Book Talk with Shirley LaBusier - March 07

Arbordale books are always charming, funny, and brightly illustrated. But the most wonderful thing about them is the “For Creative Minds,” in the back of each book. Arctic Waters offers five-pages of educational supplements. Beginning with instructions how to find the Arctic Circle, there is also information about the people who live there, polar bears, walruses, seals, narwhal, and beluga whales.

The Artic Circle is located north of the 66.5 degree line of latitude. Everything north of this referred to as “Arctic” whether land or water. The Inuit hunters are the Natives who live in Canada’s coastal Arctic. Inuit means “The Real People.” Polar bears have thick white, water repellent fur to help them hide in their snowy surroundings and to stay warm in the winter. Walruses use their tusks to fight and to help haul themselves up onto the ice and land. The tusks are big teeth. Several different types of seals live in the Arctic, they are also called “ice seals” because some part of their life cycle happens along the ice pack. The narwhal is called a “unicorn” whale because it has one, very long tooth. The beluga whales are medium sized white whales with teeth, sometimes they get caught in fishing nets.

The final page of this exceptional book contains several templates of the mammals to be photocopied, or downloaded from Also visit their website to preview some of their other books and to see reviews, endorsements, educational learning links, and information about their authors and illustrators. Books may be purchased at your favorite local or online bookstore. - Shirley LaBusier

Laura Williams Musings

A wonderfully rhyming tale of life in the Arctic Waters. A little tongue tying but all so much fun. My children enjoyed the story with it's rhymes and pictures of a walrus, seal, beluga whale, and more.

In the back of the book, is a section to learn more about Arctic waters and the life that is in the Arctic Region.

I would recommend this book to parents with preschoolers and early elementary age students. The age recommendation for this book is 3 to 7 but my almost 9 year old enjoyed is as much as they did and asked to read the Creative Minds pages in the back. It would be great to use as a starting point for a science study on the Arctic region and expand into a more in depth study.

I give this book a bright line of 5 stars. -Laura Williams

Resource Links/ Canada - March 2008

In this cumulative, rhyming tale for children, there is quite a lot going on under the ice, on top of the ice, and especially around the ice that floats in the cold Arctic waters.

With an above and below the ice perspective, all the action is there to see. A solitary fish is smiling away as it swims around the ice thatʼs jutting below the water. A frown quickly appears though as a beluga whale starts a chase. When the pointy toothed narwhal enters the picture, the beluga whale now looks a little worried. Soon to join the group is a teasing seal and a playful walrus. They start some fun on top of the ice! But then a polar bear, that cannot play nicely, finds its way over to the seal and walrus. Seal looks worried, but walrus looks ready for the challenge. With the arrival of an Inuit hunter, all activity stops. Surprises happen though with ice, and when it happens in this story, it brings happiness to some and disappointment to others.

In Arctic Waters is told as a variation of the tale This is the House that Jack Built, with rhythmic action and descriptive words pertaining to arctic mammals and their life in the midst of all that ice.

Verified for accuracy by marine mammal specialists and professionals, the author has included a five-page section entitled For Creative Minds which provides details about the mammals seen in the story, and a template for a "Mix and Match Activity Book." A brief paragraph of facts was also written about the Arctic waters themselves, and Arctic animal adaptations.

Laura Crawford wrote In Arctic Waters with her students in mind. Sheʼs also written a holiday book for children entitled The Pilgrimsʼ Thanksgiving From A to Z. Award winning illustrator Ben Hodson lives just outside Ottawa. His illustrations can be seen in a variety of books - from the picture book, How the Moon Regained her Shape, to an exercise book for teenagers entitled, I Love Yoga: A Source Book for Teens.

The realistic illustrations with a cartoonish twist, will appeal to children. The mammals are fun to watch and look at, especially in the close-ups! Each mammal has a personality of its own that comes across the text and in its facial expressions. The many shades of blue and white found in the ice, water, and sky create a beautiful Arctic environment. The illustrator even leaves us with a colorful display of Northern Lights on the last page of the story.

This book will expand childrenʼs knowledge of the Arctic. I highly recommend this book! It introduces children to a beautiful world. Thematic Links: Arctic Mammals; The Arctic; Ice; Inuit; Cumulative Tale. - Tanya Boudreau, Librarian, Cold Lake Public Library - March 2008

Want to introduce children to the arctic ecosystem without letting on they’re learning? Read Laura Crawford’s In Arctic Waters. Follow the small fish in a big ocean through the food chain, all the way up to the grouchy and cocky polar bear and then finally to the indigenous humans, the Inuit’s.

Told in a “house that Jack built” rhythm, the story shares the creatures that live on the Arctic ice and swim in its chilly waters. It moves fast and it’s fun to read aloud.

Ben Hodson’s illustrations are soft and quiet and I like them that way. The colors and strokes express the Arctic’s frigid temperature so the story doesn’t have to. There’s life on the ice. There’s life below the ice!

In the back matter, you’ll learn that the walrus uses his whiskers to feel, that the beluga whale molts, and that the narwhal is called the unicorn of the sea, and much more. Each Sylvan Dell book is more than a picture book. It’s a fun learning experience. - Susan Harkins

So Cal City Kids - January 2015

Join in the rhythmic, building fun of Arctic animals as they play and chase each other around “the ice that floats in the Arctic waters.” Follow polar bears, walruses, seals, narwhals, and beluga whales in this rhythmic, cumulative prose good for early readers. What could possibly happen to interrupt and spoil their fun?! My son and I were happy to see a happy ending!

The “For Creative Minds” educational section helps children learn how these animals live in cold, icy Arctic Region and was verified for scientific accuracy by Kate M. Wynne, Marine Mammal Specialist at the University of Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program, as well as Riley Woodford and Sue Steinacher of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Division of Wildlife Conservation.