Tidy by Emily Gravett

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Tidy by Emily Gravett

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Category: For Sharing
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: What looks initially to be a simple story of a rather over-fussy badger, delivers a very important ecological message. We can't recommend this book highly enough.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 40 Date: April 2016
Publisher: Two Hoots
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1447273981

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Shortlisted for the 2017 CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal

Pete the badger likes tidy. He does it very well. Well, perhaps it's a little bit too well. He's not content with checking all the flowers in the woodland and removing any which don't quite match, he insists on brushing fox to remove all the brambles and burrs. I'm not certain that using a hedgehog to do this is really a good idea, but Pete seems to find it effective. All the birds have to be bathed, and their beaks clean and even the rocks are scoured and scrubbed. Leaves are a major problem: just think about all that sweeping up and all the bin bags of leaves which have to be stored. There is an obvious solution.

Pete digs up all the trees: they really make the place look untidy even when they're bare. The only snag is that when it rains there's a flood and when the flood waters go there's a lot of mud. Pete's mop and bucket is not going to cope with this! So, another obvious solution comes to mind: concrete. Only now Pete can't get into his sett and there's nothing to eat...

Can you think of a better way to show children the virtues of the forests and the dangers of losing them? I can't! It's done so gently. Each step seems logical, whether you're just tidying up or deciding that we need lots more houses for people to live in, but if you look carefully at Emily Gravett's gorgeous illustrations you'll see the birds, the animals and the insects leaving the forest. Their habitat is disappearing. Once the trees go there's nothing to absorb the rainwater. The story is gently educational without being in the least bit preachy.

I love picture books where you read them time and time again and you still keep finding something in the illustrations which you hadn't spotted before. On my fifth reading I spotted some ants industriously carrying off Pete's cleaning materials and dumping them in the rubbish bin. I was still chuckling about Pete's umbrella having a duck-head handle - and the vacuum cleaner which has a badger's face on it. They're jokes which adults will love, but they're not going to go over children's heads either.

There is something you're going to have to have thought about though. The bright child is going to extend the principles of not tidying up too much (or at all) to their bedroom...

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

My favourite Emily Gravett has always been The Odd Egg, but if you'd like another picture book with a similar ecological message then have a look at Where's the Elephant? by Barroux. For more about another obsessive, try The Liszts by Kyo Maclear and Julia Sarda.

Booklists.jpg Tidy by Emily Gravett is in the Top Ten Children's Picture Books 2016.

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Buy Tidy by Emily Gravett at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Tidy by Emily Gravett at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Tidy by Emily Gravett at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Tidy by Emily Gravett at Amazon.com.


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