‘Ocean Devotion’ by Melissa Salvarani and Elizabeth Cummings, E.C. Press 2021.
The illustrator’s website is www.melissasalvarina.com and the author/poet can be found at elizabethmarycummings.com/ec-press. The names of the author and illustrator get equal billing on the cover of this book, which is great to see.
This review has been organised in association with ‘Books on Tour PR and Marketing’: www.booksontourpr.wordpress.com
‘Ocean Devotion’ is a Picture Book with a strong, very relevant environmental theme. It is created with rhyming verse which is appealing to kids and focusses on two children, a girl Kalea and a boy Hiapo.
It is not set in Australia but in Hawaii which reinforces the universal theme of the pollution of our oceans.
Three magic words are needed to change the world: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle, a neat use of an alliterative slogan that is easily remembered and should be posted on every kitchen fridge!
The two children discover that a sixth continent of plastic has been created , ‘a shimmering diamond‘ and initially the kids are entranced, imagining that they will be king and queen of this new land.
But then they realise the plastic island is polluting the ocean and presenting a threat to the marine animals, the turtles, birds, the dolphins and whales.
Kids would have seen images on TV of whales being entangled in nets and fish dying in polluted waters, so the vibrant images created by Melissa will have a strong visual. impact. The pages are interspersed with collages of newspaper headlines, such as ‘No to plastic bags, No to pollution.’
The two kids do manage to remove the plastic island but much more is to be done if we are all to change our attitude to plastics. Maybe the supermarkets could do more than ban single use plastic bags and let us buy our goods without so much packaging!
The final images are of a pristine sea, with the message. ‘No more plastic in our oceans. sea and land, a clean future for all, let’s make a stand.’
At the end of the book is a glossary of terms from A-Z from algae to zero waste and a series of photos showing abandoned tyres on the sea floor , rubbish on the beaches and entangled sea turtles.
Kids have seen activists like Greta Thunberg, so let’s hope that the next generations will continue to be active environmentalists, working to save the earth.
This book will inspire children to do just that.