Books About Adventures at Sea

Eliza Clark
May 24, 2016

There's nothing quite as captivating as a story of adventure on the high seas. So whether you're a confirmed landlubber or a seafaring type with your own tales to tell, be sure to share some of these wonderful yarns with your children. They are some of our very favorites!

The Maggie B by Irene Haas

Margaret Barnstable wishes on a star one night -- wishes to sail the sea on her very own ship, "named after me," and with "someone nice for company." Her dream is comes true for a day, and she and her baby brother embark on a thrilling journey in what has got to be the coziest little vessel ever imagined, complete with a garden, goat, chicken and toucan. Margaret cooks delicious meals, takes care of her brother, captains her ship through stormy waters, and plays the fiddle too. She is quite a girl, and this is quite a book. We love it.

Amos and Boris by Willam Steig

In addition to being a lovely parable about friendship, this is the story of a perilous ocean voyage. Amos the mouse builds a sail boat and sets out to sea to explore "the vast living universe." He meets with misfortune, but also discovers a true friend and soul mate in the form of a whale named Boris. Steig's beautiful watercolors and lyrical storytelling (packed with charming nautical vocabulary, by the way) are an absolute treat for both children and the grown-ups who read to them.

The Owl and the Pussycat by Edward Lear

It's a grand adventure, a beautiful love story, and a perfect poem. Jan Brett's illustrations set the tale in Carribean waters, and offer gorgeous images of the sea life under the pea green boat as well as of that elegant fowl and his beautiful pussycat.

The Sailor Dog by Margaret Wise Brown

This whimsical, rhythmic tale of Scuppers the dog who loved the sea offers plenty of excitement. Scuppers finds his home on a little sailboat, meets shipwreck, but cheerfully repairs his vessel and is on his way again. Garth Williams' pictures are a delight -- Scuppers sleeping in the bunk of his snug little cabin could make any child long for his very own ship.

Flotsam by David Wiesner

The story begins with a boy exploring creatures at the beach. A big wave blindsides the boy and tosses an old underwater camera onto the beach. The boy takes the camera to a photo-developing store and the pictures show an astonishing set of adventures at sea across time. In the end, the boy takes a picture of himself holding the photo and tosses the camera back into the ocean. The story ends with a little girl finding the camera washed up on a distant beach. The book is rich in visual detail but wordless, so it sparks children to imagine their own story lines.

Little Tim and the Brave Sea Captain by Edward Ardizzone

This yarn and its wonderful sequels from the 1930s and 40s have recently been reprinted, and we are so thrilled! The story has remained popular over the years, and it's not hard to see why. There is something spellbinding about the tale of this little boy who is so enraptured by all things nautical that he stows away on a ship. Never mind worrying his parents -- Tim is off to be schooled in the ways of life at sea. When a great storm strikes, he stands by his captain's side, a small hero if there ever was one. You and the kiddos will want to keep reading and reading -- luckily there are eleven Tim books in the series.

Wynken, Blynken, & Nod by Eugene Field

We adore Johanna Westerman's dreamy illustrations of this classic and loveliest of lovely bedtime poems. You'll want it to be the last book you read every night as your children sail off into a sleepy "sea of dew."

The Savvy Source is an Amazon affiliate. 

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