Author and main character, Teja Harper, recounts her family’s adventure at the Aquarium. Teja enters the vivid illustration of the St. Louis Aquarium. Scenes of wonder and discovery abound as Teja visits interesting fish such as Red Garra, nibbling shrimp, and clown fish. Conversations with Teja’s brother, mother, and father slowly add atmosphere to the picture book as Teja views splashing otters, various turtles, and jellyfish. The exciting experiences of visiting an aquarium with one’s family are conveyed as Teja watches sharks and large fish, discovers a camouflaging octopus, feels stingrays, and tastes lemonade. Each page of text and illustration offer a fact about the highlighted aquarium animal.
First-person narrative by author, Teja Harper, flows through the adventure of visiting an aquarium with family. The story tugs at the reader to reminisce on his or her experiences of taking a journey through an aquarium. The aquarium creates a perfect setting as each exhibit drives and deepens the story. Carolyn Vaughan’s illustrations are an integral component to this journey through the aquarium. The reader is able to dive into each aquarium exhibit as the illustrations depict small Red Garra and shrimp fish nibbling Teja’s fingers. The illustrations beautifully bring Harper’s text alive while moving through the exhibits. The Illustrations convey the familiar emotion and enjoyment of spending time with family. Harper weaved the importance of family bonding through conversation. The family learned with wonder as they encountered new facts about aquarium creatures. The story and illustrations solidified educational learning facilitated by strong family relationships. Teja’s Day at the Aquarium makes the perfect book for inspiring a writing project for upper elementary students. Harper’s story would also be enjoyable at bedtime for young children and for families preparing for a visit to the aquarium.