Action and Reaction: Fish / Yawn

Fish
Brendan Kearney
Dorling Kindersley Penguin Random House

Softly spoken yes, but, inspired by personal experience, Brendan Kearney’s picture book about the perils of polluting the ocean with plastic, and how we can all help to improve the situation for the endangered fish and other marine flora and fauna is clear and to the point.

Finn and his dog Skip set out one morning in their little boat, hoping to catch a tasty fish or two for their supper.

After a while when not a single fish has given so much as a tug at Finn’s line, Skip spies something in the waves. Down to the depths he swims and the sight that meets his eyes is horrifying.

Rubbish, rubbish and more rubbish. Back to show Finn with some evidence he goes.

Equally concerned, the man goes on fishing for a while but before long all he has on board is a collection of weird objects.

Fortunately, once back on dry land the two encounter a group of young beach cleaners who are equally alarmed at the load of rubbish brought out of the sea.

Finn explains how he came by it and about the complete lack of fish. What follows are a number of pertinent comments from the young eco-warriors and the following day Finn heeds their words – re-use and recycle – and goes on to join the beach cleaners.

With his engaging narrative, visual and verbal – Brendan Kearney focuses on the crucial environmental issues in the hope – his, mine and countless others – that young children will become part of the movement to clean up our polluted oceans and beaches and of course, it’s never to soon to teach them about the importance of recycling.

Yawn
Patricia Hegarty and Teresa Bellón
Little Tiger

A yawn can be highly infectious as this fun story shows.
Starting with a single feeling from deep inside the little boy narrator, a single yawn quickly becomes unstoppable, passing from the boy to all – every neighbourhood inhabitant, human and animal, until the entire street have gaping mouths.

From here it moves to the countryside and eventually all over the world, not content until every single person and every single creature has the yawns. It even heads off out into space

– it’s ‘gone viral ‘we read. Does that remind you of anything?

Fortunately though, on this occasion the outcome is that when bedtime comes, so does a great big YAAAAAAWN! to send us off into the land of slumbers.
Happy dreams.

It’s is definitely a book to share at bedtime unless that is you want to induce sleepiness at some other time in your home or classroom. Patricia’s rhyming narrative has that soporific feel to it, and if you happen to pause just a little too long on any of Teresa Bellon’s spreads (love those cutaway pages) to enjoy all the funky details, you might just find yourself the next recipient of that repeat refrain ‘YAAAAAAWN! Pass it on!’ Snore …

King of the Swamp

King of the Swamp
Catherine Emmett and Ben Mantle
Simon & Schuster

In a dark dank swamp living peacefully alone and growing orchids in his neat garden, is McDarkly.

One day, this peaceful existence is shattered by a royal entourage led by a roller skating enthusiast King who wants to turn the swamp into a roller-skate park.

However at McDarkly’s mention of orchids the Princess’s ears prick up and an agreement is made that the royal party will give the orchid cultivator just ten days for his orchids to bloom so that the princess can learn from these wonderful plants.

Determined to save his swampy environment from the King’s destructive clutches, McDarkly labours night and day, and as his allocated time is about to end, he comes upon a small green grub on one of the leaves.

Disaster! But all the more so when the one proves to be a great many of the wrigglers and they devour his precious flowers overnight.

Back come the royals, with the King in high spirits when he discovers the lack of orchid flowers. Once again though, it’s down to the Princess to save the day …

Delectably silly, Catherine Emmett’s rhyming tale is an exceedingly clever and enormously enjoyable way of putting across an environmental message or two so that young audiences will be both greatly amused and one hopes, ready to get behind the conservation crusade that still needs lots more activists.

Ben Mantle’s comical scenes are rich in detail – daft and otherwise. Who can fail to giggle over the sight of McDarkly sitting atop a bush outside his home sipping tea from a china cup, or that of the creature singing to his plants.