A Picture Book to Help Young Children Care About the Environment – Somebody Swallowed Stanley by Sarah Roberts

”Plastic” has been declared children’s word of the year after analysis of the entries to this year’s BBB Breakfast Show 500 words competition for children aged 5-13. Its appearance was up 100% from last year’s entries with titles including “The Plastic Shore” and ”The Evil Mr. Plastic”. It is good news that children are becoming increasingly aware of the dangers to our environment. However, if you are looking for a picture book to highlight this issue with very young children, “Somebody Swallowed Stanley” would be an excellent place to start.

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Stanley is floating in the sea alongside many beautiful jellyfish and we quickly realise that Stanley is no ordinary jellyfish. Stanley is a plastic bag. His story is told through rhyme and repetition with questions to engage the listener or reader. Children will learn to identify different types of marine life and the impact that Stanley has on them. The illustrations with their use of vibrant turquoise and blue convey the image of the oceans very well.

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I thought the personification and naming of the plastic bag was a clever touch. As the story reaches its happy ending young children will realise that the blame is not really Stanley’s as he was simply in the wrong place. This is an excellent picture book for conveying the message to young children that responsibility for the care of the environment is ours. Recommended for the Early Years and Lower Infants age group.

You can find out more about the author, Sarah Roberts, including details of her workshops for schools on her website

World Oceans Day takes place on 8th June, a day on which the organisers hope we will all join together to learn how we can protect our shared ocean. There are teaching resources available on the official website.

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