Title: The Plastic Throne
Author: Amani Uduman
Illustrator: Kera Bruton
Publisher: MidnightSun Publishing
Publication date: March 2021
Themes: ocean ecosystems, marine pollution, sustainability, environmental stewardship
The lively bright cover and endpapers for The Plastic Throne by Amani Uduman and Kera Bruton set the tone for a comedic, playful and rollicking adventure that follows. This story is sparked by the protagonist, Denver and his curiosity which is piqued after he uses the toilet to flush away his “parboiled broccoli”, a food he dislikes, thereby removing any evidence of its existence from his plate. Denver is then struck by inspiration as he thinks of other items he could discard because he no longer likes or uses them. He believes the toilet is the perfect place to dispose of these things. Maisy questions Denver about his actions and reminds him that waste eventually ends up in the ocean. That night, after Denver has flushed many items down the toilet, the ocean starts to rage and swell. It threatens the city. Denver takes responsibility for this dire situation where the ocean engulfs his community and sets about, with the help of Maisy, to right a wrong. The perceptive reader will delight in the whimsical details in the illustrations and spot different examples of marine life.
This book serves as a valuable resource to begin conversations and research into waste, pollution in the ocean and the effects of this, as well as the ways in which individuals can ensure they leave a small environmental footprint.
Readers will be drawn not only to the humour in the book, but also to the diversity shown throughout this story. The environmental message will also be appreciated by younger readers as they will no doubt draw the connection that their actions do have consequences and an impact on the environment. Children will feel empowered as they appreciate that they have a role to play in protecting the oceans and can act to minimise the harmful effects water pollution has on the marine plants and animals.
After reading The Plastic Throne, consider the following:
- Denver flushed items down the toilet that he believed were no longer useful. Suggest ways to recycle or reuse each of these items.
- Name three items you that have in your room or house that you no longer want or need. What eco-friendly options exist to dispose of these items (consider ways to repurpose, donate, recycle etc)?
- What examples of rubbish have you seen at the beach, in a river or creek?
- In this story, the ocean rose in response to Denver’s actions. This is a fictional account based on imagination. Discuss or research the effects of pollution (on animals and plant life) in the ocean and waterways. For example, when wearing masks was compulsory during COVID there were several animals who became entangled in the straps on the masks. Discarded fishing line is another material that marine animals can become entangled in.
- Create an eye-catching visual resource (perhaps an infographic or a poster from the point of view of a marine animal affected by the harmful effects of pollution) where you present at least five ways to protect and respect the ocean.
An excellent book to read that complements this story is Mama Ocean by Jane Jolly and illustrated by Sally Heinrich, published by MidnightSun Publishing. To learn more about Mama Ocean see my review on the Reading Opens Doors blog
This book can be purchased from the MidnightSun Publishing website