Reviews /

Ebb and Flow and the Greedy Gulls

Authored by Jane Simmons
Illustrated by Jane Simmons
Published by Graffeg

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Ebb and Flo and the Greedy Gulls is part of a series by Jane Simmons, also known for her stories about Daisy the duck. This series has been brought back into print by Graffeg, a publisher who have an impressive range of high-quality picture books.

Ebb is a dog and her owner Flo visit the beach for a picnic one day. To begin with, everything is wonderful but it’s not long before things start to go wrong. Ebb is left to guard the food but disaster strikes when the greedy gulls swoop and eat everything in sight. When Flo and Mum return, Ebb is blamed for the disappearance of the picnic. Only Bird has seen everything. Ebb goes off to sulk in her favourite spot but she is washed out to sea.

This is a great story to explore the way young children might feel if they are wrongly accused of something. The young audience I shared the story with were outraged that Ebb had been blamed when they knew it was the gulls. They could empathise with Ebb when she went off to sulk and were worried about her safety. The muted colours used in the illustrations add to the drama and tension when Ebb is washed away. The ever-present seagulls provide good discussion points, especially when they laugh at the end of the story. It’s interesting to consider why they laugh and whether they feel guilty about stealing the food. Bird’s repeated cries of ‘Beep! Beep!’ offer opportunities to think about what Bird is trying to say. This simple narrative that offers much to reflect on about misunderstandings and how we deal with them. Young children can sometimes be quick to blame others when things go wrong and it is important to consider how we deal with this and put things right.

Overall, I would recommend this story to be read aloud to younger children, particularly EYFS and Year One.

Teaching resources are available at https://graffeg.com/pages/teachers-resources and the books were made into a television series for Channel 5. Welsh language editions are also available of all four books in this series.