Dear Greenpeace by Simon James

UK Publication vs. US Publication

Dear Greenpeace is a simple story of Emily, a little girl, who writes to Greenpeace to tell them she saw a whale in her pond. She requests more information about whales because she thinks he might be hurt.

Greenpeace replied that whales don’t live in ponds, but in salt water and so starts an exchange of letters from Emily, who continues to believe a whale really is living in her pond, and Greenpeace, who explain all the reasons why that can’t possibly be so.

The book was published in the US under the new title Dear Mr Blueberry, who apparently is Emily’s teacher. The postmark on the book is also different and one line about sailing the oceans and protecting whales has an added invitational ‘with us’ in Dear Greenpeace.

Why the different titles? During a librarians’ conference I attended, Kate Shepherd (former owner of book supplier Australed) said it was very common for changes to be made for the American market and it was probably thought that Dear Greenpeace was too political for US parents.

For me, some important teaching points are lost in this translation. Greenpeace is an organisation we, as a class, can research and we can also use them to find facts (just like Emily did) about the wildlife and the environment.  Reviewers often highlight a child’s imagination and those cute things that children say. The review below remarks on the loss of human connection in the Dear Greenpeace version.  

But realistically our little girl Emily is correct. The whale may not live in Emily’s garden pond but rather the pond sized swimming pools of Sea World and Loro Parque – in which case, yes Greenpeace is definitely the organisation to contact.

Morgan, the real whale living in a real pond.

For more information about Morgan, the killer whale, kept in deplorable conditions in a Tenerife amusement park, please visit http://www.freemorgan.org.

Morgan provides the motivation behind this blog. No child should be encouraged to visit animals in captivity for purposes of ‘education’ and ‘entertainment’.

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