Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4
Genre: Picture book
What did you like about the book? This is a sweet story about self-acceptance with a light and humorous feel, as well as science undertones. Benjamin is a blue-footed boobie who finds all sorts of trash on the beach, but when he sees himself in an old mirror, he becomes self-conscious of his own features. When he tries to “fix” his body using the discarded trash, he realizes why his feet, wings, and beak are designed the way they are, and comes to accept them. Benjamin and the side characters are lovable animals with big eyes and cute facial expressions. The animals are labeled on the front end-pages, making it easier for young readers to identify them in the illustrations. The texture in the illustrations, especially the water, brings different elements of the pictures to life. An author’s note at the end explains to readers about how trash in the ocean affects animals, and reminds us all to do our part with our trash to protect the wildlife. There is also a link to a downloadable list of facts about Galapagos wildlife for those who want to learn more.
Anything you did not like about the book. Much of the story follows as one would expect it to.
To whom would you recommend this book? This would be a great class read-aloud as an introduction to a science unit about animal adaptations, how trash affects ocean animals, or the habitat of the Galapagos Islands. I would also recommend it to readers who like animals – there are lots to identify in the illustrations in addition to those in the story. Read-alike with A House for Hermit Crab (Carle).
Who should buy this book? Elementary school librarians, public librarians
Where would you shelve it? Picture books
Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Sarah Bickel, Greenlodge Elementary School, Dedham Massachusetts
Date of review: August 24, 2020