Here Is the Coral Reef

From the sleek shark to the colorful parrotfish, children come to understand that every creature in this undersea world relies on another for its existence.

Author: Madeleine Dunphy
Illustrator: Tom Leonard
Format: Hardcover & Paperback
Pages: 32
Ages: 3-8
Grade Levels: Pre K - 3
Lexile: BR1380L
Hardcover ISBN: 978-0977379552
Paperback ISBN: 978-0977379545
Price: PB: $9.95 • HC: $16.95
Where to Purchase:

Award Named an “Outstanding Science Trade Book for Children” by the National Science Teacher’s Association (NSTA) and Children’s Book Council

Award Reviewed on Reading Rainbow!

“Set beneath the coral sea of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, this forceful cumulative rhyming tale introduces some of the striking residents of the coral reef ecosystem: “Here is the coral/of all colors and shapes/that lives in clear waters/in this vivid seascape.” Each spread adds two lines of rhyme about another resident: parrotfish, wrasses, cod, clownfish, black-tipped reef shark, manta ray, Hawksbill turtle, remoras, Moray eels, anemone, and sponge. Some drama is inserted when the Moray eel must escape from a shark, but all ends well. The text appears on the left quarter of the spread, framed in a pale blue border. Leonard uses the rest of the space to present undersea paintings in a vivid, nearly neon palette. The artist varies perspectives, giving viewers the impression that they are not only underwater at eye level with the reef’s inhabitants, but sometimes at tooth level.”(Picture book. 5-9)—Kirkus Reviews

“Beginning simply with “Here is the coral reef,” a cumulative text builds to describe various attributes of this colorful environment . . . this vibrant, idealized picture of the southern hemisphere reef will grab and hold the attention of young viewers.”School Library Journal

“This vividly illustrated book presents the interdependence of the various inhabitants of the ecosystem that is Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.  The repeating verse style will engage young readers as they gain an appreciation of the plants, fish, and other sea creatures that live in and around the reef.”— Science and Children

Click to download “Coral Reef Web of Life Activity.” Enact the coral reef ecosystem by passing a ball of yarn to and from each other to represent the relationships between the animals and elements in Here Is the Coral Reef.

Click to view Educational Standards and Leveling Information.


Madeleine Dunphy

Madeleine Dunphy has studied and visited many of the world’s ecosystems, and was inspired to write books about our world’s great diversity of life. Her books have been published by Hyperion Books for Children, Millbrook Press, and her own publishing company, Web of Life Children’s Books—a publishing company devoted to publishing picture books about the environment. Madeleine is also a teacher, activist and mother. She lives in Oakland, California. For more information about Madeleine, her books, and her school presentations visit


Tom Leonard

Tom Leonard’s beautiful paintings have graced the pages of many children’s books including One Small Place by the Sea and One Small Place in a Tree by Barbara Brenner. His stunning artwork has been praised by Booklist as having “great visual flair,” and School Library Journal wrote that his colors “delight the eye.” He lives in Philadelphia with his wife, Rose, and teaches at the University of the Arts. For more information visit