Monday 7 September 2020

Benjamin's Blue Feet

Finished September 3
Benjamin's Blue Feet by Sue Macartney

This lovely picture book features Benjamin a young blue-footed booby, a bird native to the Galapagos Islands. Benjamin is a bird that like to gather items he's found and this aspect of the book is a great introduction into the vast amount of garbage littering our oceans. He calls his finds treasures and gives them names that describe them. It is when he finds a shiny object that reflects his image that he then compares himself to other birds that he sees around him, finding himself not measuring up to what he sees and likes in other creatures. His beak is too straight and long, unlike that of the Warbler. His wings are also long and wide with bristles, and he likes the penguin's sleek wings better. But his feet bring him more bad feelings, being large and blue and floppy, unlike the sticky clawed toes of the iguana.
When Benjamin uses his treasures to alter these parts of his appearance, he thinks he has improved himself, despite the laughter he now seems to generate from those who see him, but when he goes about his normal activities, he finds that his body the way it was designed is all as it should be, and what he saw as flaws are features that help him to survive and thrive in his environment. A great view on self-image, individualization, and body consciousness.
The book ends with a one-page statement about the issues raised in the book, particularly that of ocean trash. The front end papers also have wonderful drawing of other Galapagos creatures with their names. On the dedication page, the publisher also has a link to a downloadable glossary of information about the wildlife of the Galapagos Islands.
The illustrations here are lovely and eye-catching, and the expressions are perfect for each scenario. A lovely picture book for every child's collection.

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