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  • Writer's pictureNZ Booklovers

Celia Seagull and the Plastic Sea by Nicole Miller and illustrated by Lily Uivel

Celia was a very selfish seagull. The ocean was awash with plastic waste, and it was harming sea creatures, but she did not care. She was far too busy looking for plastic to weave into her nest which was getting grander by the day.

A plastic straw was caught in turtle’s jaw. Penguin couldn’t dive down with a piece of plastic string stuck to her wing. And seal could not breathe with a plastic tote round her throat.

Celia thought they were naïve and silly to have got themselves tangled up in the plastic scrap and ignored their piteous cries for help, pretending she had a lot on her plate and could not be late.

That evening a famished Celia flew up into the night sky. She thought she spotted a glittery white fish in the sea below, plunged down and swallowed it whole. But it was a piece of plastic and she started to choke.

Fortunately for Celia a wondrous creature heard her cries for help and came to her rescue. It was a mermaid. She soon managed to extricate the plastic spoon in Celia’s throat with a Heimlich manoeuvre.

Celia had learnt her lesson, and now realized how important it is to be kind and to help others. She asked the mermaid to come with her to rescue the other sea creatures, and there was a very happy ending all round.

Lily Uivel’s softly coloured illustrations perfectly complement the quirky narrative. The double page spread towards the end of the book, of all of them snuggling up in the mermaid’s nest is especially delightful, never mind that turtle coughed, the seal snored, and the penguin BLEW OFF!

Preschoolers will soon want to join in the rhyming text which flows along nicely. And enjoy pointing out all the familiar plastic objects they can see bobbing in the ocean, like a jandal, a drink bottle, a chair, and a tumbler.

Nicole Miller’s manuscript for Celia Seagull and the Plastic Sea was a 2019 Joy Cowley award finalist. This is her first book, published with the generous support of the Bobby Stafford-Bush Foundation.

Her picture book lends itself perfectly to starting a conversation with small children about how the vast amount of plastic waste being dumped into our oceans is harming our sea creatures, and what we can all do to help.

Reviewer: Lyn Potter

Published by Little Love


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