Ocean Soup: A Recipe for You, Me, and a Cleaner Sea

by Meeg Pincus (Author) Lucy Semple (Illustrator)

Ocean Soup: A Recipe for You, Me, and a Cleaner Sea
Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade
From the shore, the ocean looks like clear, sparkling blue but look closely at a small scoop and you'll find the ocean looks more like soup! Our oceans are filled with plastics, from water bottles and take-out containers to the teeny tiny plastic particles you need a microscope to see. But who exactly cooked up this stinky soup? And, more importantly, what is the recipe for getting (and keeping) our oceans clean? This bouncing, rhyming story pulls no punches about how we ended up in this sticky mess but also offers hope and help for cleaning up this ocean soup.
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Publishers Weekly

The recipe for Ocean Soup, Pincus relays through lighthearted but edifying couplets, is easy: add single-use plastics and trash from overflowing landfills to the sea, and then let it be "simmered by the sun" for "decades of days," whereupon the five gyres "turn the plastic to specks" and the consequences become limitless. The author emphasizes how humans, the "chefs" of this "murky, confetti-like brew," caused this proliferation of plastic pollution over generations of bad habits, primarily extensive use of plastics: "heaps of containers and straws," taking "throwaway bags without pause." Semple's colorful digital illustrations follow four children with different skin tones as they learn about Ocean Soup, effectively supplementing Pincus's smoothly rhythmic narration in this charming call to action. Back matter further addresses the topic and includes an author's note sharing the book's beginnings. Ages 7-8. (Mar.)

Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

K-Gr 2—This picture book discusses environmentalism and conservation. The rhyming text is snappy and the bright cartoon illustrations are appropriately playful for the target audience. The simple and accessible text will encourage young activists, who will understand the damage done to our oceans. Pincus identifies the culprit as plastic: throwaway bags, synthetic clothing, cleaning products, and party balloons are named as the harmful ingredients of this "ocean soup." Kitchen terms such as "blender" and "purée" are used to create an effective image of trash being endlessly stirred in once-clean waters. Pincus evokes sympathy for the innocent animals that ingest the toxic brew and emphasizes the fact that many of our own food choices can be impacted. Clear back matter explains the poor decisions that led to "ocean soup." Specific plastic materials are depicted. Ten steps describe how kids can do their part; they will hopefully inspire all readers to work for cleaner oceans. VERDICT This appealing book provides essential information without being preachy or heavy-handed. A definite purchase for all libraries.—Gloria Koster, formerly at West Sch., New Canaan, CT

Copyright 2021 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Sleeping Bear Press
Publication date
March 20, 2021
BISAC categories
JNF037020 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Science & Nature | Environmental Conservation & Protection
JNF037070 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Science & Nature | Earth Sciences - Water (Oceans, Lakes, Etc.)
JNF071000 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Social Activism & Volunteering
Library of Congress categories
Marine debris
Plastic marine debris

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