Ella and the Useless Day

Ella and the Useless Day
Meg McKinlay and Karen Blair
Walker Books

Having had a good look around their house, Dad and Ella decide it’s time for a serious clear out and so they get to work right away. Together, they search, scramble, sort, poke, pick and pile all the useless stuff they find into the trailer to take to the rubbish tip, where useless things go. However, before they’ve even set off, their neighbour delightedly relieves them of the tricycle, calling it “Absolutely perfect!” and so it goes on until by the time they reach the dump, their trailer is almost empty,

even the holey blanket has been given a new lease of life. Then Ella realises that the final item is one they can make use of back in her own bedroom.

Meg McKinlay tells a subtle, gently humorous tale of recycling and reusing, creativity and community, that is highly pertinent in our throwaway society, where we all ought to be giving serious thought to living more sustainably. One wonders what on earth can be done with the “fashion disaster” of a suit,

the leaky goldfish bowl, the broken crockery and other things but young listeners/readers could have fun thinking of possibilities before turning to the final wordless spread where in a series of vignettes, Karen Blair shows just what their new owners did with them. Throughout the story, her watercolour and pencil illustrations provide lots of delightful details and underscore the wry humour of the words.

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