Our Wet World

Our Wet World

  • 795

By: Sneed B. Collard III / Illustrated by: James M. Needham

The world is more than 70% water.

if anyone ever looked at a lake, stream, or any body of water that makes up 70% of our earth and wondered what lives in there, this is the book with the answers. Every page explores the story of life underwater. Readers learn about unusual animals, like the crafty mudskipper than can live in water and on land so that it can escape from hungry saltwater crocodiles. The fact-filled text also explains the mutual dependency of plant and animal in these ecosystems; while seagrass provides food for pinfish, sea turtles, and manatees, the seagrass is maintained by several of species that live among it, such as sea horses and baby barracuda.

Common and not so common habitats are based on actual locations that readers can identify. Places such as a New England salt marsh or the rocky coast of British Columbia are illustrated with realistic detail. Maps and a glossary complete this learning experience.

Look Inside the Book:

Author & Illustrator Bios:

Sneed B. Collard III, author

Sneed B. Collard III has introduced anothe rworld for us tot explore. In 1996 we learned about our earth's biomes in Our Natural Homes and in 1997 we discovered what animals scare us in Creeepy Creatures. Sneed lives in Missoula, Montana.

Read more about Sneed.

James M. Needham, illustrator

James M. Needham has put his talent to work again to create another detailed book. Previous titles include Our Natural Homes, Can We Save Them?, and One on a Web. Jim's love for the underwater world helped in the research of this book. He lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Read more about James.

Awards & Honors:

  • NSTA/CBC Outstanding Science Trade Books for Children
  • A Reading Rainbow Review Book

Editorial Reviews:

International Angler

Our Wet Worldshows the diversity of our watery regions as it takes us on an underwater journey to 13 aquatic ecosystems.

Teaching K-8

Our Wet World is a 32-page encyclopedic look at the Earth's aquatic ecosystems. The book takes us through streams and the fish who live in them, through salt marshes, mangrove forest, rocky shore, kelp forest, seagrass meadow, coral reef, the continental shelf, the open ocean, the midwater and the deep sea with a final look at the southern Ocean or Antarctica. the denizens of each area are pictured and described. For such a little book, there's certainly a lot of important information and a surprising amount of wonderful artwork.

Book Links

Thirteen ecosystems—from coral reefs to rivers and streams—are explained in simple, easy-to-understand terms and enhanced with colorful illustrations. The book includes maps and glossary.

Education World

Every person and every plant and every animal requires water to live. But, for more than a quarter-million kinds of living things, water serves an additional purpose. Water is their home!

Author Sneed B. Collard III invites us all to jump into Our Wet World, and to see the water habitats, or ecosystems, that are home to many species. "Put on your mask, snorkel, and flippers and dive in," Collard implores.

Collard, a marine biologist, has spent his life exploring rocky shores, seagrass meadows, mangrove swamps, and other wet places. Among the places he leads us to in Our Wet World is a kelp forest off the coast of northern California. Here we gain an appreciation for the sheer strength of the brown kelp, and for its super-growing powers. (Brown kelp can grow up to 14 inches a day!0 Sneed also shares information about he life cycle of the "underwater forest:"

"The sea otter, a common inhabitant of this ecosystem, is much hated by fishers who fish the area for sea urchins—one of the otters' primary food sources. But if it weren't for the sea otter there might be no brown kelp. The sea urchins might gobble it to extinction! Any one of the four—the otters, sea urchins, kelp and fishers—might not survive without the others!"

Collard's valuable knowledge and descriptive text are enhanced by the handsome, lifelike illustrations of James M. Needham. Students will love examining the details of Needham's illustrations for the unusual sea life they might spot. See the pink tongue of the alligator swamp turtle! Can you find the mudskippers, as much at home in the water as they are on the land? Gaze at the blue "lips" of the three-foot-long giant sea clam! Amaze at the unique creatures found in the ocean's "twilight zone"—creatures that make their own light! The beauty of nature shows through in Needham's fine illustrations!

Together, Collard and Needham transport readers from a Rocky Mountain stream to the deepest, darkest parts of the Pacific Ocean. Stop off at a midwestern pond; a salt marsh along the Massachusetts coast at low tide; a mangrove forest on the coast of Papua, new Guinea; a seagrass meadow off the coast of Florida; the Southern Ocean off the coast of Antarctica; and other places along the way. Don't miss out on this trip into Our Wet World!


LIBRARIAN: Our Wet Worldis a very well illustrated science book for young readers. The text is factual and concise. The illustrations are well done and very informative. The book is an excellent first introduction to biology, ecosystems, and the world around us. I recommend it.

SPECIALIST: Our Wet World by Sneed B. Collard III would be a good supplementary book to introduce fourth to sixth grade visual learners to the diverse world of aquatic ecosystems. Although I would hesitate to call it a "picture book", it does rather refreshing reverse the normal ratio of text to illustration usually found in texts for this grade level. Thus instead of the picture of the ecosystem being inserted in a page of text, two to three paragraphs of text are inserted in a detailed double page painting of the ecosystem. This presentation works because to observant budding young scientists the painting describes each ecosystem much more accurately and succinctly than could an equal number of pages of words. In addition, considering the brevity of the text, it is indeed remarkable that these "captions" are nonetheless full of interesting and useful information that helps bring the paintings to life. They compliment the paintings by pointing out population information, habitat details, and trophic relationships that would not be immediately apparent from the pictures alone. For more verbal learners this is also a book, however, these pictures do indeed seem to be worth a thousand words.

Independent Publisher

The magic of the underwater world comes alive in this pleasant children's book. The illustrations help to take the reader through the many different ecosystems that constitute Earth's "wet world." From streams and rivers through marshes to the shore, each ecosystem is carefully described in clear terms that can be understood and appreciated by children ages 5 to 9.

Worth noting is the excellent glossary, unusual in a children's book but quite useful here. A child assigned to write a report that includes research, for example, will be able to utilize this helpful feature. Parents who want to assist their children to understand and remember the concepts provided in this book also will be grateful for the thorough list of terminology.


Download the Cover


ISBN: 978-0-88106-268-7

E-book PDF
ISBN: 978-1-60734-343-1
For information about purchasing E-books, click here.

Ages: 5-8
Page count: 32
11 x 8 1/2

If you like this book, you’ll enjoy these:
The Ocean Alphabet Book
The Deep-Sea Floor
Ralph Masiello's Ocean Drawing Book
The Underwater Counting Book