Alba and the Ocean Cleanup

Lara Hawthorne. Big Picture, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-5362-1044-6
Appealing hopefulness infuses the implausible tale of Alba, an orange fish who lives in a reef where “shimmering fish darted and dived, and strange creatures scuttled into hidden places.” She loves to collect things, but over time, “Alba found fewer beautiful objects... and slowly, more trash started to appear.” Hawthorne’s clean-edged watercolor and gouache illustrations conjure the dismal fate of the dazzling reef—a four-panel spread shows the trash piling up and the color leaching away. When Alba spots a pearl in a plastic bottle, she is trapped trying to retrieve it. After rescuing Alba, a girl named Kaia tells everyone in her community “how dangerous their plastic and trash were making the oceans.” The town cleans up the mess over the course of a single page turn, even installing wind turbines, and Kaia returns home to a recovering reef. Closing spreads identify animals in the reef and ways to take care of the ocean, but the book’s simplistic, speedy approach to cleanup may not impress upon readers the scale of the actions needed. Ages 3–7. (Mar.)
Reviewed on : 03/05/2020
Release date: 03/17/2020
Genre: Children's
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