Reviews /

Ebb and Flo and the Sea Monster

Authored by Jane Simmons
Published by Graffeg

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Ebb and Flo, a young girl and her dog, become stranded with mum on a sand bank when the tide goes out as they are rowing home. Their imagination runs wild after hearing stories of a local sea monster and seeing shadows on their tent. A gentle, fun picture book with appealing, soft pastel illustrations.

Mum, Ebb, Flo and Bird are visiting Granny who lives across the bay from their houseboat. While Flo and Granny read a newspaper article about Morgawr, local sea monster, Ebb chases her favourite ball which bounces into the bushes and seems to be lost. They find the ball, but the search delays them leaving. Another dropped ball from Ebb while crossing delays them even further: the tide goes out and they become stranded on a sand bank. While mum goes off to look for more firewood, thoughts of the sea monster return when Ebb and Flo see a huge shadow across their tent! Luckily, it is just Bird, who has found Ebb’s ball outside and come to return it.

This is part of a series of books about the characters of Ebb and Flo, therefore, much is taken for granted in terms of reader knowledge of the characters and their home on a houseboat. Though this doesn’t hinder the story in any way, the children in my Reception class were curious about the duck or goose that is pictured with them, but not named or referred to until the very end, when Flo realises that it is ‘Bird’ casting their shadow on the tent. The children were delighted to realise that the characters lived on a boat, which prompted discussions of different types of homes. We also talked about the tide going in and out, or ebbing and flowing, and the children enjoyed this link to the characters’ names.

The story lends itself to lots of prediction, with Ebb’s lost ball being a main plot point and causing many of the problems in the story. There is also a delightful twist as the real Morgawr is spotted once they have passed the night and reclaimed their boat. There is some specific vocabulary to discuss, such as ‘marooned’ and it was good to try and work the meaning out from context clues. This book was a fun whole-class story time book and would be suitable for children in EYFS and Key Stage 1.