Book Title: The Tale of a Toothbrush (available here)
Author: M.G. Leonard
Illustrator: Daniel Rieley
Publisher: Walker Books
Publication Date: Jan 2020
Reviewed By: Nathan Wilcox
The Tale of a Toothbrush is a book that deals with the fate of something we all use and have probably thrown away many of within our lifetimes; our toothbrushes! The story follows Sofia, a 6-year-old girl, and her plastic toothbrush Sammy, who is thrown in the bin by Sofia’s mum once his best teeth-cleaning days have passed him by. Unfortunately for both Sofia and Sammy, this is not the outcome either of them desired; Sofia had other plans for her favourite toothbrush, and Sammy quite enjoyed his life brushing Sofia’s teeth. Thus, Sammy embarks on the long journey back to Sofia and on his journey, witnesses first-hand the considerable damage that plastic is having on the world around him. I thought that the authors were particularly clever in choosing something like a toothbrush as the book's subject - an item that is relatable for every single reader yet is something that may be forgotten when we think about how we recycle and reduce our plastic usage. The message calls each reader, in a simple yet effective way, to recognise the negative impact that thoughtlessly throwing away plastic can have on our environment and certainly stirs up a desire for change. No matter where Sammy travels, he encounters discarded plastic and Daniel Rieley’s illustrations aptly draw our attention to the way plastic pollution is spoiling the natural landscape. But that’s not the end, the book provides hope – we are challenged to abandon this bad habit and make little changes, such as re-using a toothbrush, which in turn can have a big impact for positive change in the world.
The Tale of a Toothbrush provides readers with a fantastic starting point for discussion, especially with those younger readers who may not have talked about issues like this before. I can see this story sparking conversations about how everyone can do their bit to help clean up the planet as well as inspiring individuals to look at what they can do personally to help too. M.G. Leonard’s debut picture book is certainly a success and I look forward to reading the next.
Many thanks to the publisher for sending us a review copy of this book and to Review Panel member Nathan for reviewing it.
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