Ducks, Overboard by Markus Motum is a much-needed tale of the life of plastic, where it goes and why we must no longer leave its journey to chance.
This timely book, is narrated by a rubber toy duck, who tells us of its creation in a Chinese factory to its voyage across the oceans, and how it never reaches its final destination, to be sold in the shops of America.
I found this book fascinating as it took us on the treacherous journey of a forgotten piece of waste. The pace is slow and allows for plenty of thinking time, while the illustrations give us plenty to think about. The brightly illustrated pages draw us in and make us care about the ocean and its inhabitants deeply. A double spread pages towards the end of the story, show us vividly, using a world map, the extent of the damage that is caused and cleverly creates a shock factor that continues on the turn of the page. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is illustrated in such a way that we can fully visualise the enormity of the situation.
The design uses two types of font. One that follows the story of the duck, and another smaller font, like that of captions found in traditional non-fiction texts. These captions give us more in-depth facts about plastic and pollution. After the story, there are two full pages of factual information, alongside ideas of what we can do to make a difference.
Despite the main theme of the book being the disastrous consequences of the overuse of plastic and waste in our oceans, the narrator does get a happy ending. We are left with a message of hope – that there is work that can be done and that it is down to humans to solve the problem, we created, of plastic in our oceans.
This book can and should be read with children across primary school. While infant classes will be able to use this to give a general understanding of pollution and its effects on the planet, junior will also be able to use this as a starter at the beginning of any topic on the Environment and pollution.
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