“Hello Hatchling my name is Bella. You must be careful – there is a lot of marine debris in the ocean that looks like food, but isn’t. Marine debris is litter. Litter items such as plastic bags, bottles, balloons and straws are dumped by humans and end up in the oceans.” This was a quote from the new puppet story book I Love Turtles written and illustrated by Marguerite Venter.
I attended the launch of the book at The Afrisam Children’s Play Centre alive with excited children waiting to be taken on a wild ocean adventure of environmental learning. A puppet show was presented to the children in very simple child-friendly language to encourage the very young to participate and get involved in the excitement of meeting a group of animated marine characters, whilst experiencing the memorable journey with Hatch the Turtle.
The Two Oceans Aquarium launched this second puppet book to help young children understand the importance of the oceans and its marine life, especially the beautiful turtle. The storyline is fresh and uncomplicated, with quaintly illustrated pictures of marine and land animals. On the back blurb “Brain Tickles” teach youngsters to pay attention to smaller details and to notice nature in “where do I belong” and “the lifecycle of a turtle.”
Say no to balloons
The theme in this story follows Hatch, a friendly young turtle, on an adventure looking for his family, meeting friends and dangers along the way. He is alerted to the dangers of marine litter, especially balloons, and encourages young children to have balloon-free birthday parties at the aquarium.
Balloon Busters is the symbol to remind us to be mindful of saying no to balloons. There is also a special character called Thinky, who was created for the Puppet Stories. Thinky, a positive tool, teaches putting yourself in other people’s shoes.
The puppet show encouraged the children to interact with the puppets, helping them find someone or warning those in danger. The youngsters loved shouting to warn turtle and tortoise that Edgar, the fish eagle, was close. Afterwards the children decorated pretty blue cupcakes with edible turtles and filled in educational activity sheets, assisted by helpful assistants in the play centre.
A portion of the proceeds of the sale of this book will go towards the Turtle Rehabilitation at the Two Oceans Aquarium.
Oceans in Motion traveling school bus
Marguerite has worked in the Afrisam Children’s Play Centre for the past 7 years, where she has learnt the importance of telling stories in simple language that will draw in and captivate the very young. She now combines her puppet show experience with these creative books to reinforce conservation ideas. A mobile Oceans in Motion traveling school bus visits schools in the Western Cape, teaching children about the biodiversity of our oceans and how fragile they are.
Marguerite reads the book with them, they see the puppet show and are given printed activity sheets to fill in. After a very thorough marine learning experience the children are now ready to take the message home and to share it with their family and friends. Educating our youngsters is the first step to creating a greener planet with caring eco warriors.
Rethink the Bag
Schools that are interested in booking the Oceans in Motion Aquarium school bus can contact Marguerite at email@example.com.
Marguerite’s first puppet book, Keep the Beach Clean helped launch another very important project that the Aquarium is initiating, Rethink the Bag. This campaign was co-ordinated by Hayley McLellan and encourages us all to take up the challenge to Refuse, Reuse, Reduce, Recycle and Respect.
Greyton in the Western Cape is the first Town in South Africa to take up this challenge, and on 3 July, it will say No to plastic bags littering their environment. All the shops in Greyton will no longer carry plastic bags, and will only sell reusable shopping bags made of parachute material. This campaign needs our support, so please sign this petition and help ban plastic bags in SA.
We have a great Giveaway of Marguerite Venter’s exciting Puppet Story books. Answer the following question correctly and send your response to firstname.lastname@example.org: What special day did we celebrate on Sunday 8 June?
The first 4 correct entries will receive a set of Keep the Beach Clean and I Love Turtles. We have 2 sets in English and 2 in Afrikaans. Remember to include your preferred language in your mail. This offer closes end of June 2014.
By Robyn Morris