Captain Crankie & Seadog Steve by Vivian French & Alison Bartlett

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Published by Little Door Books, 2016.

Author Vivian French and illustrator Alison Bartlett have worked together before (the Oliver series and the Nature Sorybooks, for example) and I was delighted to see them team up again for Captain Crankie & Seadog Steve. Captain Crankie lives in a very picturesque fishing village. He owns a boat and every day he takes tourists and villagers out to watch the dolphins and the seals.

Captain Crankie and his dog are very tidy but they notice that the other villagers are not. Villagers young and old are dropping their rubbish in the streets, in gardens and even on the beach. Captain Crankie and Seadog Steve resolve to do something about it and so they collect up all the litter: old buckets, broken umbrellas, car tyres and shopping trolleys. So far, so good. Unfortunately, their solution just creates another problem. They load up their fishing boat with everyone’s litter and sail out to sea. They then dump all the rubbish overboard.

Captain Crankie and Seadog Steve sail home happily, pleased with their day’s work. They don’t give a thought to the underwater world they’ve polluted. However, we see the environmental damage they’ve caused and the unhappy faces of the marine animals. Mermaid Millie is particularly upset. She stops Captain Crankie and Seadog Steve the next time they head out to sea with their boatload of rubbish. Together, they dive to the ocean floor and the Captain and his dog realise that what they’ve been doing “won’t do at all.” They come up with a plan that involves the other villagers too and gets rid of the litter once and for all but, this time, in an environmentally friendly way.

The story demonstrates to children how we must think about the consequences of our actions. It’s a great way to get them talking about pollution and environmental damage. It also shows the positive impact of recycling.

I love Alison Bartlett’s illustrations: the pretty pastel colours of the houses on the seafront; the rich blues and greens and occasional purples of the ocean; and the golden sand on the beach. There’s a warmth to the characters too, especially Seadog Steve.

Rating: 💙💙💙💙💙

Suitable for children aged 2+

Thank you to Little Door Books for sending me this book to review.

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