Little Turtle and the Sea
Becky Davies and Jennie Poh
In this story we follow Little Turtle as she emerges from a nest on the sandy shore and heads to the safety of the sea, right through to maturity.
The turtle grows to love the ocean as she herself grows larger and one day she reaches the other side of the world where she lives for many years foraging and feeding.
Then comes a time for her to make the long journey back to the beach from whence she came .
Now however, it’s different. Things are not right: the colours of the reef are fading and instead of familiar friends, all manner of weird-looking new creatures (plastic bags) float everywhere.
The strangeness increases and ‘The ocean no longer felt like a friend.’
Little Turtle is alone and entangled in a drifting net of detritus.
Fortunately just when she fears her journey is over forever, two divers appear and set her free, going on to clean up the rubbish.
Once more the bubbling ocean is a beautiful place to live.
Becky Davies keeps her narrative lyrical and gentle as she describes the changing sea shown in Jennie Poh’s beautiful mixed media illustrations, saving the starker factual information about the terrible effects of pollution on our oceans to the two final ‘note from the author’ double spreads after the story.
The Pirate Tree
Brigita Orel and Jennie Poh
Inspired by a weathered tree in which she sits, young captain Sam sails the high seas on her pirate ship.
Suddenly though, she’s approached by another ‘sailor’ who asks to play.
“I don’t know you. You’re not from my street” comes her reply and she carries on sailing her ship solo and talking of plundering ships;
she mentions ‘diamonds from Nigeria’. At this Agu feels bound to correct her, for it’s his home country and he tells her so, talking of sailing on a ship too.
Sam then invites the newcomer aboard, albeit somewhat hesitantly but she discovers that her co-sailor knows a fair bit about how to sail and together they voyage to a deserted island and defeat pirates from a rival boat.
When Sam’s Dad calls ‘dinner time!’
it’s a rather more reluctant buccaneer who leaves her companion, having first asked his name and invited him to become her fellow crew member again.
Agu’s longing for a friend is palpable in this story and I have to say that Sam’s initial treatment of the newcomer shocked me. Happily though, the time spent together has shown Sam that friendship is the way to go, just as Agu had hoped.
Jennie Poh’s mixed media and natural textures were digitally combined and her illustrations seem to have a deliberate static feel until such time as Sam invites Agu aboard her ship, after which there’s a satisfying flow about them.
Brigita Orel’s story shows children how it’s important to be open to new friendships that can be mutually rewarding, enriching our own life and those of others.