Kirkus Reviews QR Code


by Seth Fishman ; illustrated by Isabel Greenberg

Pub Date: May 19th, 2020
ISBN: 978-0-06-295336-0
Publisher: Greenwillow Books

In our world, oceans are everywhere, they affect everything, and everything we do has an effect on the oceans.

In their third joint foray into science-related picture books following A Hundred Billion Trillion Stars (2017) and Power Up (2019), Fishman and Greenberg exhort their readers to do “good deeds” for the ocean. The writer addresses his readers directly with this simple message but starts off with an explanation. Not only do oceans cover most of our planet, they provide almost all the water. Much of the oxygen we breathe comes from ocean plants, and if our food doesn’t come directly from the oceans, it relies on a water cycle that includes the oceans. Similarly, everything we do affects oceans. He points out that people haven’t always thought about human effects on the ocean: “Sometimes it takes a while to learn from your mistakes, right?” The large, legible text is set directly on bold cartoon art characterized by bright, flat colors, blocky shading, and heavy black outlines. The two kids shown on the cover (one black-presenting, one white-presenting) travel throughout the book. One double-page spread shows some suggested actions: cleaning a beach, studying a coral reef, helping seals in an aquarium. Sadly, a final spread still shows one of the kids flying the helium balloon that first appeared over an ocean filled with trash, a mixed message.

On this difficult issue, it’s hard to strike the right balance for young readers; this is a valiant effort.

(author’s note) (Informational picture book. 4-8)