Distinctly reminiscent of the Borrowers, this new story is nevertheless fresh and endearing. The book teaches an important message – ‘Rubbish today is treasure tomorrow’ – through a quirky and engaging tale.
The tiny, resourceful Tindims steer Rubbish Island through the sea, recycling litter and solving problems as they go. There is a large cast of distinctive characters from Pinch the long-tailed pink dog to Broom the gardener, who is ‘a beautiful shade of green’ with a hiccup-inducing laugh. The book ends with the Brightsea Festival and raises the possibility that maybe, some time soon, they will meet the (human) Long Legs. This paves the way neatly for future books, but the gently meandering plot is perhaps not the main key to securing the reader’s attention. The word play, songs, catch phrases and inventive language (all pitched perfectly for a lower primary readership), the regular introduction of fresh, whimsical characters and the marvellously exuberant illustrations are the elements that will most delight young readers.
This is a book that newly independent readers will relish. The short chapter summaries will both tempt a child to read further and support understanding, thus boosting confidence and enjoyment. The illustrations, with their cross sections and labels, add clarity and explanations in a superbly understated and undemanding way. Character illustrations are full of verve, and the mother-daughter team have created text and illustrations that mesh perfectly together. The book clearly comes from their mutual delight in storytelling as well as their passion for conservation. When the Tindims finally confront the Long Legs about the daunting problem of Plastic Bottle Mountain, the encounter will have been well worth the wait.
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