Reviews /

Bloom

Authored by Julia Seal
Illustrated by Julia Seal
Published by sunbird books

Tagged

Julia Seal’s Bloom will make a bright and colourful addition to the climate literature classroom shelf. Luna the jellyfish reminisces about a time ‘when there was a perfect rhythm to the waves and a perfect balance to the ocean’ but ‘things were changing’ and one day she returns to the reef to visit her colourful friends only to be met with grey plants, plastic bottles and toothbrushes. After an encounter with her friend the hermit crab who explains that ‘The Ocean is in trouble’ Luna gathers together the jellyfish and begins a campaign, including weighing down fishing nets and blocking power stations to ensure humans begin to take note.

The text is clearly aware of its young readers and although it covers the dangers of climate change it is cautious not to add to readers’ anxiety. My eyebrows raised a little at the opening few pages which talked of how all the animals on the reef were ‘friends’, including an image of a shark who ‘liked to play chase’ as I quickly looked up food chains, but it was clear that the text’s focus was on the disruption of the natural balance caused by humans and what might be done to remedy this.

Bloom reminds readers about the power of teamwork and numbers when it comes to activism observing that ‘One little jellyfish can’t do much but a huge BLOOM of jellyfish can!’ and importantly it offers a sense of hope that we can come together to make a difference. The final information sign, pictured on a shoreline full of people busily engaged in a beach clean, gives food for thought and indeed classroom discussion, as it explains that jelly fish ‘thrive in rising sea temperatures’ and are ‘known as an indicator species’ warning us that ‘something is out of balance’. This is a book that offers young readers the opportunity to discuss the effects of climate change in an empathetic way, research the science behind it in relation to the warming of the oceans, and to consider what we can do to help.