Monday 14 September 2020

The Tindims of Rubbish Island

 The Tindims of Rubbish Island by Sally Gardner and Lydia Corry (HarperCollins)

ISBN 9781838935672 BP RRP $12.99

 Review by Nean McKenzie

 This imaginative and environmentally aware story is written and illustrated by an English mother and daughter team, published under the Head of Zeus imprint. The Tindims are tiny people who live on a mobile island and collect rubbish from the sea, thrown away by the Long Legs (humans). A bit like the Wombles, they find uses for the things they discover, but lately they have been overwhelmed by the amount of plastic in the ocean. Their ‘bottle mountain’ is now so high they are stuck in a cold part of the world and can’t see to sail to warmer climates to celebrate their annual Brightsea Festival. While the main character Skittle is initially excited by the snow, she, and her dog Pinch, need to come up with a solution to the plastic problem so they can return to their normal lives.

 The world of the Tindims is beautifully described by diagrams of the Tindims themselves and Rubbish Island, including the engine room, the underground fish hospital and the toothbrush library. The Tindims are quickly likeable: they are happy and sing often. Their world is fleshed out by details which include the fact that none of them can tell their lefts from their rights. Their motto is ‘Rubbish today is treasure tomorrow,’ and one of the Tindims, Ethel B Dina, has a saying, ‘My still and sparkling darling,’ after the water bottles they find in the sea. They’ve even got their own marine-sounding days of the week: Monkday, Tunaday, Winkleday, Turtleday, Floundersday, Sardineday and Sharkday.

 Included at the back of the book are activities showing how to make things from plastic bottles or toilet rolls and advice about littering on beaches. While The Tindims of Rubbish Island has a strong environmental message about the plastic in the sea, it is primarily a really fun story about an island of tiny creatures, that primary school children can really immerse themselves in. Three more Tindim books are on their way in 2021. 

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