About the Holiday
This month, as kids get out of school and families head for the beach, we celebrate the amazing diversity of life in the ocean. A majority of the earth’s surface is covered in water and yet we know only a fraction of what the sea has to teach us. With new technology scientists are diving deeper and deeper and discovering never-before-seen (or even imagined) creatures. To join in on this month’s holiday, explore the beach, visit an aquarium, or learn more about the animals and resources of the sea.
Barnacle is Bored
By Jonathan Fenske
Even before Barnacle’s story truly begins he’s just hanging around the dock sighing. The trouble is Barnacle is “Bored. Bored. Bored.” Every day is the same old routine. When the tide is high, Barnacle is “wet and cold,” and when it goes out, he’s “dry and hot.” The sun rises; the sun sets. The waves “roll under” him or give him a good dousing of the briny deep, but no matter what’s going on Barnacle is stuck in place.
If only he were like the little polka dotted fish swimming by. Barnacle imagines what exciting days he must have. “I bet he dives with the dolphins” and “soars with the sailfish,” Barnacle muses. He dreams of the fun the fish has with flounder, finbacks, plankton, and…that eel doesn’t look like it wants to play with polka dot fish. Oh, no! Barnacle can’t look.
Yikes! Barnacle grimaces as eel swims away, full and satisfied. He retreats into his shell to reconsider and decides, “I am not bored.” But polka dot fish floating around inside eel? Yeah, he’s bored.
Jonathan Fenske takes the proverbial (shell)fish story to new, minimalistic lengths in his laugh-out-loud Barnacle is Bored. Fenske’s use of repetitive phrasing and funny alliteration highlights Barnacle’s tedium as well as his conviction that the sea is greener on the other side of the dock. When reality comes calling close to home, though, Barnacle—and young readers—discover that sometimes excitement isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Fenske’s jaded Barnacle is an adorable dreamer even as he grumbles about his sticky situation. His expressive eyes and tiny tentacles that sway with the tides will make little ones giggle. With a soothing palette of ocean colors, Fenske creates fresh, crisp backdrops that emphasize both Barnacle’s feelings of monotony and his vivid imagination.
Barnacle is Bored is a perfect summertime treat that will elicit waves of requests for repeat readings. A great choice to take to the beach and on vacation, the book will not spend its time stuck on the shelf.
Ages 3 – 5
Scholastic Press, 2016 | ISBN 978-0545865043
Discover a gallery of books and illustration by Jonathan Fenske on his website!
National Oceans Month Activity
Playful Plastic Pail
With a colorful plastic pail, some paint, and a little sealant, you can make a pail for the beach or sandbox that is as unique as you are!
- Plastic Pail
- Paint that will adhere to plastic
- Sealant for plastics
- Paint brushes
- Create your design
- Paint your pail, let dry
- When the paint is dry, spray with sealant. Apply sealant in a well-ventilated place
- Let sealant dry
- Enjoy your pail!
You can find Barnacle is Bored at these booksellers
Picture Book Review