Tidy

Longlisted for the North Somerset Teachers' Book Award Picture Book Category

Book Title : Tidy

Author : Emily Gravett

Publishers : Two Hoots

ISBN : 978-1447273981

Pete the badger loves a good tidy and clean-up. But when one lives deep in the forest, it is not an easy task. From snipping off flowers that don't quite match the others to polishing rocks, there is quite a lot to do. When Pete takes to hoovering dead leaves, things take a turn for the worst, as leaves continue to fall (it is autumn after all), and Pete decides the only way to keep the forest tidy is to get rid of trees. Pete's obsession spirals out of control, and soon the forest is replaced by a concrete jungle. But it takes for Pete to be left hungry and homeless to realise what he has done.

 

Emily Gravett's talent for drawing charming anthropomorphic animals allows this book to carry a serious theme while never being too somber. Her use of colour conveys particularly well the natural beauty of the forest, which she contrasts with browns and greys  post-tidy which brings a powerful message about how our urbanisation affects the environment. The double-spread with the huge pile of rubbish bags is particularly powerful at conveying the effect we have on nature. All ends well for Pete who, with the help of some woodland friends, manages to reverse what he has done, which carries the message that maybe it is not too late to reverse some of the damage humans have done. The theme of protecting the environment is obviously key here, and branches out into the impact of waste and the importance of ecosystems which also offer opportunities for many discussions and activities.

 

Activities
Research badgers and their habitat
Research deforestation (the Amazon forest for example)

Investigate ways to develop recycling in school and write a recycling/waste leaflet/manifesto
Investigate ways to keep schools' green areas tidy

Other picturebooks which can be used alongside Tidy
Where's the Elephant? by Barroux
Window by Jeanne Baker

Dinosaurs and All the Rubbish by Michael Foreman