Dear Greenpeace – Book Review

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Dear Greenpeace by Simon James

This short, tactile picture book had me under its charm form page one. It is written in the form of letters (about which I am still romantic), from a little girl who believes she has found a whale in her garden pond. With great concern and sense, Emily writes to Greenpeace to seek the society’s advice on how she should look after her whale.

The essence of the humour in this story stems from Greenpeace’s replies, each one a little more adamant that there is absolutely “NO” possibility of a large sea mammal residing in a garden pond. Emily is completely undeterred and continues seeking advice out of concern for her whale, and her replies are just as hilarious. The beautiful illustrations capture the enchantment of childhood and let the reader in on the fact that Emily and her whale are enjoying time together!

Let me give you a taste. One of Greenpeace’s first attempts to convince Emily that she can’t have seen a whale in the pond, is to point out that they cannot survive in fresh water. Needless to say, their second reply exhorts Emily to desist from adding more salt to the pond for risk of parental displeasure. Emily, quite unconcerned, continues her queries. Children will adore opening up the sturdy little envelopes glued to every other page and reading Emily’s eloquent and enthralling questions on how to care for Arthur.

This is a magical little story about wildlife, ecology and even touches on loneliness, as many of the illustrations have Emily alone in her preoccupation, with family life hurrying on around her.

The lovely ending, which I shall not spoil, may require a kleenex!

For ages 4-7

# 93 in the There’s a Book Read to Me Picture Book Challenge.

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14 Responses to Dear Greenpeace – Book Review

  1. Patricia Tilton says:

    Love this book! It shows her wonderful determination to take care of her friend. Does anyone from Greenpeace ever check her story out — I don’t like not knowing if she has a whale in her pond! Spurs my imagination. Great book filled with a lot of humor.


    • Joanna says:

      I hope you can find a copy to know if Emily truly has a whale in her pond! I think maybe the author could have done more to link to/promote Green peace, actually.

  2. Joanna! You have got to send me your postal mail thru FB Private Messaging so I can send you postcards or nicey letters. Lovelovelove writing letters. We even had a bimonthly theme early this year (January-February) called “Message in a Bottle” – books that have letter-writing as its basic theme. Had I known about this lovely picture book, we would have included it as part of our featured books. Have you heard of Griffin and Sabine? We did a series of reviews devoted to Nick Bantock’s work. You might want to check it out:

    Was also reminded of Emily Gravett’s “Meerkat Mail” – you have to check that one out as well. 🙂

  3. Joanna says:

    Haven’t heard of Griffin and Sabine, Myra, so thanks for this link, and will be checking out Meerkat Mail too (love the name). I will most certainly send you my address, which you will absolutely love 😉 This book made me want to write one in this style!

  4. I visited Simon James website … It’s interesting how writer/illustrator has the advantage of creating the whole story, and able to put those little touches in that delight and involve the reader, ensuring the message it carries will be remembered long after the book has been put down. A lovely book with a universal theme. I love kleenex endings, thankyou for sharing, Joanna.

    • Joanna says:

      Thanks so much for adding this link, Diane! I find myself constantly wishing I were an illustrator too 🙁 I share your passion for kleenex-endings!

  5. Susanna says:

    This book sounds absolutely lovely! I will have to look for it! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  6. Joanna says:

    Thanks, Susanne. I was soo glad that the kids who had borrowed it from the school library had always put those wee, little letters back in the envelopes!

  7. I absolutely LOVE books that include “real” letters to open and read. (I read the Griffin and Sabine books some years ago, and they’d slipped my mind — they’re more geared to adults, but follow the same letter format. I’m glad Myra reminded me of them. I also love The Jolly Postman, a British children’s book of letters.)

    I must read this book. Must, must, must. Thank you, Joanna!

  8. I so love your book reviews! I MUST hunt this book down. It warmed my heart just reading your review.

  9. Lori D says:

    Our library doesn’t have it 🙁 I might just have to order it! I want to see this book. It sounds wonderful.

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