The Mess That We Made

Michelle Lord, illus. by Julia Blattman. Flashlight, $18.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-947277-14-4
Riffing on “The House That Jack Built,” Lord crescendos cause and effect to show how human actions harm the ocean: “We are the people at work and at play/ that stuff the landfill, growing each day/ that spills the plastic thrown away,/ that traps the turtle, green and gray.” Blattman’s colorful, detailed illustrations show children peering into a swirling oceanic soup of plastic fragments where ghost nets and plastic bags entangle seals, whales, and turtles. Midway through, the narrative pivots: “BUT... we are the ones who can save the day.” Lord lists positive actions, using the same rhythms to build to a triumphant conclusion: “We protest the boat of welded steel,/ collect the nets/ and free the seal, that eats the fish.../ that swims in the ocean that WE save!” Though the illustrations move quickly from cataclysm to all-cleaned-up, many are realistically chilling. Substantial supplemental information explains landfills and oceanic pollution and suggests more ways to help. Ages 4–8. (Jan.)
Reviewed on : 03/05/2020
Release date: 01/01/2020
Genre: Children's
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