‘Mama Ocean’ by Jane Jolly and Sally Heinrich is a charming cautionary tale about protecting the oceans. This picture book will transport you to the depths of the ocean as you follow the wise and majestic Mama Ocean, whose health reflects the quality of the marine environment.

In this story, the strong and commanding Mama Ocean becomes sad and her concerned children (the sea creatures, of which there are many represented in this stunning story) attempt to lift her spirits by presenting her with attractive ‘gifts’ that they source from the ocean. Unfortunately, their resourcefulness does not seem to help Mama Ocean. Mama Ocean becomes increasingly unwell as “she was becoming bleached and frail. Her eyes were dulling”.  The sea creatures are not aware of the damaging effects of the ‘gifts’ they found bobbing around in their home and how they are responsible for making Mama Ocean sick.  After deep reflection and a desire to help Mama Ocean, the sea creatures come to the realisation that the gifts are dangerous and harmful to the ocean. They declare, “this finery is fake” and work together to rid the ocean of this toxic pollution.

This picture book contains rich lyrical text that swirls through the pages and complements the enchanting illustrations. The richness and movement of the ocean is captured in the illustrations with the repeated use of swirls. The detail in the illustrations on each page beckons the reader to revisit them and appreciate the many details.

The words and illustrations work beautifully in tandem to convey a powerful environmental message about the ways in which pollution adversely affects the ocean. This story will no doubt be a call to action to inspire young readers to adopt sustainable practices and environmental responsibility.

This book can be purchased from the MidnightSun Publishing website

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