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Tidy by Emily Gravett

Sometimes a book comes along that is just brilliant. The words tell a story that makes you imagine one narrative, the illustrations accompanying them make you chuckle and see a more in-depth storyline. Being a storyteller myself, and my fascination with children's stories, I have wondered about the disconnect when the writer passes on the script to an illustrator (often, someone they have never met or with whom they are familiar), who then takes the script and puts their own spin on it. Sometimes, it can be absolutely brilliant. The illustrator takes it to a whole other level that the writer could not have imagined. Other times, it's becomes a repetition of the words...not necessarily bad, but not creative either -- ultimately a failure to ignite that added level of curiosity that could spark a child's cognitive function. 

Tidy by Emily Gravett, reminded me of how creative books can be, or in my opinion, "should" be. Perhaps it's because Emily Gravett wrote and illustrated the book herself, which translated to her having complete creative control. Her previous book has won the Kate Greenway Medal. 

Tidy is the story of a badger named Pete, who lived deep in the forest, and always tidied and cleaned and kept everything neat. From flowers to birds to the untangled knot on the fox's tale, he took such pride in keeping everything tidy. Until one day a leaf fell...

Pete tidied it up, then more fell, then more and more. Finally no more leaves were left on the trees and Pete didn't like the bare, scrappy look of the trees. 

So, he undertook a "MIGHTY feat" to dig up every single tree. 

But, things didn't go as Pete had planned. From floods, to mud and more dirt. Pete comes to the realization that a concrete forest isn't the same as a real forest. He can't make his way back to his sweet home, that lays deep in the ground. 

Pete figures out a solution, then off he sets with the help of his fellow animal friends, to rebuild the forest once again. 

The story has a wonderful sustainability and environmentalist base to it, but it also boasts a handful of other wonderful skills to have: hardwork, perseverance, teamwork, organization and even a reminder to let go of a bit of that rigidity. 

5/5 Sukasa Stars

Tidy is published by Two Hoots, an imprint of Pan MacMillan, and distributed in Canada by PGC Books. 

Blog post by @ShilpaRaikar (Creative and Social Media strategist, decor enthusiast and book lover, who also writes for a branding blog:, as well as a lifestyle blog: T: @SukasaStyle) 

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