I entered to win several titles from the publisher that does The Mess That We Made by Michelle Lord. I was not a winner, but as a consolation price I was able to get a free digital copy (that I was able to access!) of the is picture book from about a year ago. It seems familiar, as I might have read it before, even reviewed it. Yet is possible that it just like other conservation titles and feels similar with its presentation and tone. And even though I might have read/reviewed before, I am going to (possibly) again as my feelings or take on it might have changed.
Lord’s book is a book that depends on your mood at the time of reading. Today you might think it preachy, yesterday you loved it. Tomorrow you might find something you missed and a week from now you might have a whole new opinion. While the facts are pretty much nonnegotiable, your feelings of the presentation can change.
This is a not-so-subtle approach of conservation for kids. It is set up in the “House that Jack Built” format. It talks about how humans have made a mess of our oceans. From the steel ships with their nets catching seals that eat fish that swim in the mess, to the turtle caught in the plastic that floats around, we see the pollution created. The repletion as we count down and back up again is right there, no questions what is going on.
What I found interesting, even shocking; is that the illustrations by Julia Blattman are downright gorgeous. The trash shines and is colorful. Blues, reds, greens, yellows and all the rainbow colors make up what you find on the page. The details show how the ocean and creatures glide through the water. I am assuming it is an attempt to show you that the ocean is beautiful, so we need to keep it even more so, plus to tone down the seriousness of the theme. However, I was not sure I could take it seriously at the same time. As I said, it is an interesting piece of the book.
Overall, this is an enjoyable book that educates with the poem of the story and the afterward sections. There is also a map that shows you were some of the worse spots are due to the currents and the way oceans of the world flow. I feel all ages can enjoy and learn from, due to the rhythm of the words and pacing. The way it is set up the child can grow with it as well. Probably best for a classroom setting, it could be a good one-on-one read as well.