Perfect Picture Book Friday – The Mess That We Made

Welcome to the Day-After-Earth-Day edition of Perfect Picture Book Friday!

To celebrate Earth Day, I have an absolutely wonderful book to share – one I think you’ll all enjoy and appreciate! (It is one of those wish-I’d-written-this! books 😊)

Title: The Mess That We Made

Written By: Michelle Lord

Illustrated By: Julia Blattman

Publisher: Flashlight Press, January 2020, nonfiction

Suitable For Ages: 5-7

Themes/Topics: environmental issues – importance of awareness and change

Opening: “THIS is the mess that we made.

These are the fish that swim in the mess that we made.

This is the seal
that eats the fish
that swim in the mess that we made.”

text copyright Michelle Lord 2020, illustration copyright Julia Blattman 2020, Flashlight Press

Brief Synopsis: [From the publisher] “The Mess That We Made explores the environmental impact of trash and plastic on the ocean and marine life, and it inspires kids to do their part to combat pollution.”

Links To Resources: The Mess That We Made Word Search; book back matter Includes facts about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, ocean pollution, and Calls to Action for kids and grown‑ups to share.

Why I Like This Book: In the cumulative tale tradition of This Is The House That Jack Built, this rhythmic, sometimes rhyming story shows kids in an age-appropriate way how human behavior is affecting the ocean ecosystem. The vibrant art shows what is happening to the ocean water and the creatures who live there without being so explicit that it would be upsetting. As the story progresses, the illustrations show more and more garbage in the water, building to a full page spread with the very simple text: “Look at the mess that we made.”

text copyright Michelle Lord 2020, illustration copyright Julia Blattman 2020, Flashlight Press

This spread invites readers to pause and really look at and think about what we, as humans, are doing to the world. But the story does not end on that distressing note. Instead, it turns a corner and begins to show all the things we can do to make things better, until it ends on a positive note:

text copyright Michelle Lord 2020, illustration copyright Julia Blattman 2020, Flashlight Press

The book has an important message, handled deftly, so that young readers understand the necessity of change and feel empowered to make it. The back matter includes additional interesting and educational material. A wonderful choice for every library!

In case you’d like to see more, here is the book trailer:

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do 😊

For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

PPBF folks, please add your titles and post-specific blog links (and any other info you feel like filling out 😊) to the form below so we can all come see what fabulous picture books you’ve chosen to share this week!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! 😊

12 thoughts on “Perfect Picture Book Friday – The Mess That We Made

  1. julie rowan zoch says:

    I’d like to see picture books that show kids corporations and governments are far more responsible than individuals and need to be held accountable. As beautifully done as this book is, I’d rather we didn’t need them.

  2. syorkeviney says:

    This book will be easily read by teachers and understood by young students. The House that Jack Built format encourages the repetition that is so important in early literacy skills. The beautiful illustrations and hopeful message that children can change the world by their actions will encourage students to respond in meaningful ways! I’ve just ordered this book and can’t wait to share it! Thanks Susanna for bringing us timely, meaningful and beautiful books to our attention. I too wish I could have written this book, but I will do the next best thing that I can… I will share it with teachers, parents and children!

  3. Patricia Tilton says:

    This is such an important book for Earth Day. I read it a while ago and it’s always stayed with me. Like Julie, I wish we didn’t need these books and that corporations and government were taking more action. Until they do, kids need to see these books because the clock is ticking. And we hope their generations will act more responsibly.

  4. Barbara Gruener says:

    YES! I read this to my second-grade friends last spring and they REALLY loved it, especially the catchy cadence that pulled them in and made them want to help. They even wrote letter to the author with their reviews and ideas!

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