The Blue Giant

Authored by Katie Cottle
Illustrated by Katie Cottle
Published by Pavilion

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This is a picturebook about a mother and daughter who go to the seaside and try to save it from plastic pollution.

The Blue Giant is Katie Cottle’s second book after her debut The Green Giant and follows a familiar environmental theme. There is no doubt that Ms Cottle is a talented illustrator, however the writing here is limited. It’s disappointing that we find out little about the relationship between Meera and her mother nor do you get a sense of why this strip of generic seaside is important to them. My feeling is that this story has been constructed with the environmental theme as the driver as opposed to attention being placed on writing a great picturebook which just so happens to carry an environmental theme. It’s very one dimensional.

After arriving at the beach, Meera and her mother meet and talk with the sea. She explains that she and the creatures that live in and around her are in trouble due to pollution. Meera and her mother kindly begin to help by detangling plastic and other items from the creatures and removing litter from the beach. The book ends with a message that we must all work together if we are to keep the oceans clean. We are then offered advice and suggestions on how we can all help.

My feeling is that Katie Cottle would do well to study Town Is By The Sea by Joanne Schwartz and illustrated by Sydney Smith. Here we see a picturebook that’s been carefully crafted to reveal much about the local area and the characters’ relationship with it. It too is able to carry an environmental message but it’s not there to preach. In conclusion, the illustrations are what will win young readers over. With all this said, I suspect this will be a popular book with KS1 teachers who will want to teach children about plastic waste.