Title: The Tale of a Toothbrush: A Story of Plastic in Our Oceans
Author: M. G. Leonard
Illustrator: Daniel Rieley
Publisher: Walker Books
Genre: Children’s picture book
Book format: Paperback
Sweet Strawberries: Sweet StrawberrySweet StrawberrySweet StrawberrySweet StrawberrySweet Strawberry

Description: Sofia’s favourite yellow toothbrush is called Sammy.
But when Sammy’s bristles wear out, Sofia’s mum throws him away. Sammy travels across the world, meeting other plastic rubbish, as he tries to get home to Sofia. On his epic journey we discover the problem with plastic and what we can do to help.

*Free copy provided by publisher for review…

Review:  This is such a sweet and fun story to help explain the problem with plastics today. Sofia was able to choose her toothbrush and she chose Sammy, a yellow brush. She drew an S on his tummy and enjoyed brushing her teeth with him every day. Sammy is a happy toothbrush until the day when Sofia’s mum throws him away when his bristles get worn out. Sammy ends up travelling a long way, by truck then ship along with all the other rubbish. But Sammy doesn’t want to be all alone and he makes the journey home to Sofia, with a little help from some animals.

The Tale of a Toothbrush book page image one
©The Strawberry Post

The book is a bit bigger, wider, than A4 in size and is filled with lots of glossy and thick pages of colourful illustrations and text. I really have loved the way this story goes and especially the cute illustrations which show Sammy and the other inanimate objects come to life with their facial expressions and words. As Sammy makes his way back to Sofia, via the ocean, he comes across other plastic that’s floating out there. While the story has some fun moments like the pirate ship and the plastic bottle and its companion on the beach who Sammy ends up seeing, the wider story of how plastics end up causing a problem long-term from not breaking down in the oceans and for animals in general is shown well.

The illustrations are really lovely, I adore them so much! Sammy and the other characters, especially the inanimate objects all look so sweet with their faces and lovely smiles. I love how there is lots to see on some of the pages, all the details in the background. I’m not sure I’d have enjoyed this book as much as I have without the fun illustrations, they really make the story so much easier to understand, especially when showing just how much plastic ends up in the oceans and everywhere else.

The story ends well with a happy ending for both Sammy and the upset Sofia, who became upset when Sammy was thrown out. I do like what happens and how the message of recycling, even toothbrushes, is shown although I did feel a bit weird about the fact that nobody mentioned to wash a dirty toothbrush that’s been in the ocean before re-using it in some way. Maybe it’s just my ocd mind 🤪 but I would have liked that message of cleaning objects that ended up in the rubbish to be there too, especially as the point is made that the toothbrush is now dirty. The last page has some interesting facts about the problem with plastic and I love how this book is both a fun read and also so informative too. There are some tips on how toothbrushes can be re-used when they can no longer be used to brush teeth and I especially love these ideas shown in the story as one of them I use myself to create art!

The Tale of a Toothbrush book page image two
©The Strawberry Post

This really is a lovely story and the illustrations really make this all the more wonderful to read. I love Sammy as a character, he’s so sweet and the lovely story of a child enjoying a simple object is one I adored, especially as I remember getting attached to simple things like toothbrushes when I was young. The deeper message about plastic in our oceans is there and it’s a great way to introduce this subject to children. I would recommend this book to anyone wanting a fun, sweet and inportant read.

What do you think of this book?  Do you like books that talk about environmental issues?  What do you think about the cute illustrations?  Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂