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Ducks Overboard

Ducks Overboard!: A True Story of Plastic in Our Oceans

Published: 4 Feb 2021

Hardback, 32 pages

Recommended for age 7+

By Markus Motum

Illustrated by Markus Motum

Published by Walker Books Ltd

Regular price
£9.60
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£9.60
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RRP £12.99
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Discover the pollution crisis in our oceans through the eyes of one lost plastic duck in this engaging and stylish picture book. When a shipping container filled with thousands of plastic ducks spilled into the Pacific Ocean, where did all those ducks go? Based on a true story, this innovative take on the plastic pollution crisis follows one duck as it travels on ocean currents to meet sea life and discovers the rubbish from humans that endangers our oceans. A highly accessible and stylish picture book with a positive message about environmental issues, from the author-illustrator of Curiosity, which was shortlisted for the Royal Society Young People's Book Prize.

Tagged environment , oceans , plastic , pollution and sustainability

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Reviewed by Rumena Aktar

Ducks, Overboard by Markus Motum is a much-needed tale of the life of plastic, where it goes and why we must no longer leave its journey to chance.

This timely book, is narrated by a rubber toy duck, who tells us of its creation in a Chinese factory to its voyage across the oceans, and how it never reaches its final destination, to be sold in the shops of America.

I found this book fascinating as it took us on the treacherous journey of a forgotten piece of waste. The pace is slow and allows for plenty of thinking time, while the illustrations give us plenty to think about. The brightly illustrated pages draw us in and make us care about the ocean and its inhabitants deeply. A double spread pages towards the end of the story, show us vividly, using a world map, the extent of the damage that is caused and cleverly creates a shock factor that continues on the turn of the page. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is illustrated in such a way that we can fully visualise the enormity of the situation.

The design uses two types of font. One that follows the story of the duck, and another smaller font, like that of captions found in traditional non-fiction texts. These captions give us more in-depth facts about plastic and pollution. After the story, there are two full pages of factual information, alongside ideas of what we can do to make a difference.

Despite the main theme of the book being the disastrous consequences of the overuse of plastic and waste in our oceans, the narrator does get a happy ending. We are left with a message of hope – that there is work that can be done and that it is down to humans to solve the problem, we created, of plastic in our oceans.

This book can and should be read with children across primary school. While infant classes will be able to use this to give a general understanding of pollution and its effects on the planet, junior will also be able to use this as a starter at the beginning of any topic on the Environment and pollution.

I am a Primary School Librarian, who is passionate about getting the right books into the hands of children. I strongly believe that we need to be reading books that represent people from all walks of life, to ensure that we create a fairer and more empathetic world. I live in Birmingham with my husband and four children. When I'm not reading, buying or talking about books, I enjoy writing, baking and creating art and crafts with my children.