Review: Whether set in the Hawaiian Islands, or our own sandy beaches, every one of us should appreciate the precious ecosystems that exist surrounding our ocean shores. And unfortunately, it is not uncommon to come across litter that has either been carelessly or neglectfully discarded causing unsightly and dangerous pollution. In Ocean Devotion, the children sadly encounter Hawaii’s ‘plastic beach’, with plastic debris collecting in vast quantities in its waters and threatening its marine life. This is a non-fiction narrative that tugs at the heart and catapults readers into action, for the unchecked result is disastrous for our treasured planet.
The scene is set; a paradise of flowers, tropical parrots, pretty leis and the biggest of surf waves. Elizabeth Mary Cummings’ rhyming couplets beautifully lilt like the waves, carrying her readers’ engagement all the way through. All too soon, Melissa Salvarani’s visually entrancing illustrations cast a glittering, shimmering mixed-media net that immediately catches our eye. And protagonists, Kalea and Hiapo are flung into the entanglement of rubbish that both intrigue and frighten them at the same time. Cleverly, the pictures intertwine phrases and text integral to the discussion on world ocean news, painted on newspaper and digitally enhanced with images of bottles, straws, nets and other trash. With a clear and strong message emerging from the deep, the two eco warriors are encouraged to help, and ensure that we all know what to do respectfully and sustainably with our waste. Confronting the dangers to the sea life, the story shows us that recycling and repurposing bottles can be fun, interesting and most importantly, life-saving!
To promote further conversation, an alphabetical list of relevant words is included as well as real life photographs of ocean litter, encouraging the inquiry and questioning into what can be seen. With elements of imagination, creativity, empowerment and compassion, Ocean Devotion is an entrancing and fully engaging book that motivates us all to be ‘environmental heroes’. A real treasure.
Review by Romi Sharp.
More about Elizabeth can be found at her website: Home – Elizabeth Mary Cummings Facebook | Twitter | Instagram Ocean Devotion is available for purchase at E.C.Press
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