Review Blog

Apr 28 2016

Where's the starfish? by Barroux

cover image

Egmont, 2016. ISBN 9781405280082
(Age: 3+) Highly recommended. Hide and seek. Oceans. Fish. Pollution. A seemingly simple game of find the starfish, the clownfish and the jellyfish amongst the double pages bright with different colours, shapes and varieties of fish, soon turns into a subtle look at the pollution in our oceans as the fish, big and small, find that their habitat is being crowded out by the litter clogging their world. It starts small, with a bottle and can on the sea floor, but as each page is turned the mound of discarded rubbish grows, the number of fish lessens, until finally most of the fish have gone. Children will laugh at the ingenious solution reached by the whale to rid the sea floor of human rubbish, putting it back in their corner of the world, leaving their environment free. And they will be made more aware of the sort of rubbish that is tipped into the sea, or finds its way there through unthinking human activity. They will love spotting the fish, especially the three mentioned, as they keep turning up on most pages, and they will like looking at the variety and scope of the rubbish found in the sea.
Barroux found inspiration for the story when on one of his dives, he saw a plastic bag that he thought was a jellyfish. His illustrations will enthrall younger readers, using the Where's Wally style of search to get them hooked. A teacher could use this technique asking the children to find the three fish, starfish, jellyfish and clownfish, then spread the search wider to search for a telephone, a TV set, a washing machine and so on. And what a wonderful mobile could be made in the class using this story as its base.
Fran Knight

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