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Perfect Picture Book Friday

#PPBF: Monsters in the Briny

Author: Lynn Becker
Illustrations: Scott Brundage
Publisher & Year: Sleeping Bear Press, 2022
Intended Age: 4-7 years of age

Topic/Themes: Poetry, Sea Monsters, Cause & Effect

Opening Lines: “What do you do with a grumpy kraken?
Crabby, cranky, crusty kraken?”

Synopsis: MONSTERS IN THE BRINY is a delight! What DO you do when you’re a crew member faced with a grumpy kraken, a scruffy sea goat, a sickly serpent, and other needy sea creatures? You find a way to provide comfort until you’re faced with a hard-to-control ship in the middle of the ocean and you KEEP SINGING, that’s what you do! This book will keep you and your children and students humming the tune and clamoring for rereads.

What I like about this book: Maria Marshall’s and Jilanne Hoffman’s enticing reviews inspired me to purchase this book. From Scott Brundage’s expressive and light-hearted, illustrations to the captivating rhymes that perfectly match the rhythm, there is much to admire about this book. I read Beth Anderson’s interview where the author, Lynn Becker, shared she perfected her rhymes by walking as she sang the words (an incredible tip for all poetry writers). This humorous book will leave your audience smiling while humming this catch shanty tune.

MONSTERS IN THE BRINY is a perfect read aloud for any situation! Caregivers, Teachers, Librarians, you’ll want this book on your shelves! Talk about how the entire crew works together to solve problems, consider cause/effect, or just enjoy a fun read aloud experience together.

Writing/Physical Education/Reading: After reading this book, research and write sea shanties for a classroom job, perhaps, or for a topic you’re studying in the classroom. Read this book aloud and/or view the book trailer as mentor texts.

With rough drafts in hand, take the class walking as they chant and see if they need to revise rhymes.

After reading, assign students or groups of students individual pages and have them perform a Readers Theater of this book with the karaoke music here.

Art: Using Scott Brundage’s illustrations as a mentor text, have students create shanty illustrations. Have students highlight rhyming words and the last line of a stanza with a unifying font and color.

Book Celebration: Give everyone bandanas to wear and props. Invite families to listen to the book and view the artwork and student-written sea shanty performances. Invite all participants to sit in a half-circle on a mock ship and clap in time to the rhythm of the sea shanties while individuals or groups perform on a plank of wood.

Author Website:

Illustrator Website:

This review is part of PPBF (Perfect Picture Book Friday) where bloggers share great picture books. Organized and curated by author Susanna Leonard Hill, she keeps an ever-growing list of Perfect Picture Books. #PPBF

Thanks for stopping by! Have you read this book? Let me know in the comments.

Reflections on this Book:

I thought a Structured Word Inquiry (Bowers, 2020) (or what I call a Word Quest ) might be the perfect way to deepen student understanding of the word, “shanty.”

Why is “shanty” spelled that way?
Spelling variations: shanty, chanty, chantey

After investigating the word, I learned that “shanty” most likely was derived from the French chanter meaning “sing.”. My hypothesis is that the spelling changed to “sh” from “ch” to reflect the pronunciation.

While investigating “chanty,” I discovered another interesting word in the morphological family (a word that shares the same base and meaning): “chanticleer.” A chanticleer is a rooster from medieval tales and the word “chanticleer” literally means “sing-clear.”

Another fascinating morphological connection is between “chant” and “enchantment.” I was enchanted by MONSTERS IN THE BRINY and, like the word’s ancestor, the Latin incantare, “to enchant, fix a spell upon,” (, this rollicking shanty has cast a spell on me!

An important part of a Word Quest is to share what you learn with others, so plese pass this post along to anyone who might be interested.

Thanks so much for stopping by! What is enchanting you this week?

Comment below or on social media to be entered into a random drawing on 2/16/23 to win a FREE picture book, CHANGE SINGS by Amanda Gorman.

Congratulations to Mrs. Lisa Barnett! As past of our World Read Aloud Celebration, Mrs. Barnett has won a FREE copy of MONSTERS IN THE BRINY and a Zoom Read Aloud for her class. I have been in touch with Mrs. Barnett and her students are already so familiar with the book that they have been busy writing and creating their own shanties! Stay tuned to hear more about this incredible teacher and class. 


2 Responses

  1. We can’t wait for you to read this book with us tomorrow! The students are ready to share with sea shanties with you, too! After the story, we will investigate some of the spellings in the story that follow the doubling convention and find out a really good reason why two of them don’t and we will take a look at your word investigation above.

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