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by Sue Macartney ; illustrated by Sue Macartney

Pub Date: June 16th, 2020
ISBN: 978-1-77278-111-3
Publisher: Pajama Press

A bird learns self-acceptance in this tale with a concealed environmental message.

Benjamin, a blue-footed booby, loves to go treasure hunting on his beach. He tugs a long, red “string-stretch-it” (an elastic band) out of the sand, and a round “hmmm…a…hole-thing-um” (a silicon wristband) is a delightful find. But when he finds a shiny “twink-um-doodle” (a mirror), he declares that to be the best treasure of all. He can see himself reflected for the first time! Unfortunately, he doesn’t like what he sees. His beak is too long, his wings are too wide, and his feet are too blue. Benjamin decides to use his treasures to change how he looks. He squeezes into the “hole-thing-um,” ties the “string-stretch-its” around his feet, and fastens other treasures all around. But now, he can hardly move. Luckily, he breaks free and becomes thankful for his original features. Macartney never explicitly mentions the word “trash,” but it is clear to eagle-eyed observers what Benjamin’s “treasures” really are. Benjamin’s quirky names for all of the items he finds add levity, but many other creatures on the island have heavy-lidded stares, making them look sleepy or ill (except when they are laughing at Benjamin).  (Editor’s note: An author’s note about ocean trash has been appended to the finished book.)

Water-pollution discussion requires an extra step beyond the reading, but this a good place to start.

(Picture book. 3-7)