Explore the Rocky Shore

Explore the Rocky Shore with Sam and Crystal

By (author): Gloria Snively
Illustrated by: Karen Gillmore
ISBN 9781772032369
Hardcover | Publication Date: July 2, 2018
Book Dimensions: 8 in x 10 in
64 Pages

About the Book

A lavishly illustrated story that teaches children about the marine ecosystems of coastal Pacific rocky shores.

Siblings Crystal and Sam and their Aunt Kate and Uncle Charlie explore the tide pools of Eagle Cove, a sheltered inlet on the Northwest Pacific Coast. The children discover that you don’t have to go far to encounter a great variety of remarkable creatures, including crabs, sea stars, sea anemones, sea urchins, snails, shrimps, clams, jellyfish, and much more. With the help of Ada, an Indigenous woman, the children learn about Raven’s intelligence and playfulness and encounter Grandfather Sculpin, a wise Tidepool Sculpin who leads them on a magical tour through the High Tide, Middle Tide, and Low Tide zones. The fantasy enables the children to view the undersea world through the eyes of an ancient fish.

Lavishly illustrated with colourful and scientifically accurate drawings, Explore the Rocky Shore with Sam and Crystal is both an entertaining story and a useful learning tool created with collaboration from Indigenous educators and elders.

About the Author(s)

Gloria Snively is a professor emeritus of science, environmental, and marine education in the Faculty of Education, University of Victoria; a former classroom teacher of primary and junior secondary grades; and a founding member of the Northwest Association of Marine Educators. In addition to the Sam and Crystal series, she is the author of the classic bestselling field guide Exploring the Seashore in British Columbia, Washington, and Oregon and (with Wanosta'a7 Lorna Williams) Knowing Home: Braiding Indigenous Science with Western Science.


"As Sam and Crystal explore the coast with Uncle Charlie, Aunt Kate, Ada, and Grandfather Sculpin they come to understand the interconnectedness of all things through food gathering, food preparation, and giving thanks to the salmon. Throughout the story, the children receive teachings about the importance of respecting and making wise decisions about the ocean and our plant and animal family." —'Nalaga Donna Cranmer, 'Namgis First Nation, Principal of Wagalus School, Fort Rupert, BC
"Gloria Snively’s beautiful book fires up the imagination and makes learning fun and effortless." —Holly Arntzen, eco-songwriter/singer/producer, Artist Response Team (ART)
"[R]ecommended for school and public libraries regardless of their proximity to the west coast. The text and illustrations are clear and both author and illustrator use a unique imaginative approach to the topic. The story could be read to class over an extended period as an adventure story and supplement to ecological studies. The illustrations could be used as an example for art classes. Although works of fiction the books contain a wealth of accessible facts." —Resource Links
"The quality and quantity of detail about the marine ecosystems attest to the author’s scholarly expertise. She offers thorough accounts of the most interesting aspects of the lives of each animal and plant Sam and Crystal find. For instance, readers may have some knowledge of why and how the Hermit Crab borrows an empty shell as it outgrows the current one, but they are less likely to know about the battles that take place if two crabs have designs on the same shell. Readers may be familiar with the variety of shapes and colors of shells but are perhaps unaware of how the Wrinkled Whelks drill into mussel shells to feed, and how the mussel egg cases open and close to protect the young ones. These moments of drama are precisely recounted in lively style and give an extra layer of excitement to these books. Along with the more common seashore creatures, like crabs, mussels, sea stars, and gulls, more unusual ones are examined: the Rock Louse, periwinkles, sea anemones, and sea slugs. A list of the organisms arranged in taxonomic categories is found on the last page of each volume." —Gillian Richardson, Canadian Materials