Sunday, December 12, 2010

Left Shoe and the Foundling by Annie O'Dowd

I have spent a lovely week listening to the audio book of Left Shoe and the Foundling. A friend reviewed this book when it was first published and I did always mean to read it but somehow never quite got there. Thank goodness someone gave me the audio book – this is a story to treasure.

Left Shoe is a seadog. Just to fill you in on the details of these warm little creatures. Humans cannot see seadogs but they live quite close. Seadogs live in burrows along the seashore. The rooms in these burrows have the delightful name snug. Seadogs eat seed cakes and drink squink which is a drink made from squid ink. Seadogs are always born as twins – a boy and a girl but sadness arrives all too soon at the beginning of this book for Left Shoe, our hero, when his twin sister Broken Shell dies.

Seadog babies “are always named at sunrise. They are named after the most special piece of treasure …. (such as) interesting objects washed onto the beach by the sea." The Sandburrow family consists of Blue Bottle – the mum, Old Cork – the dad, Shark Tooth and Driftwood – baby twins and Left Shoe. The greatest threat to the lives of these peaceful creatures is the giant squid.

Early one morning Left Shoe decides he simply cannot bear to attend the school sports day where all the races and fun seem to involve being a twin. Instead he decides to go fishing in his small boat. There have been signs in previous months that the giant squid has returned and grey skies and gusting winds indicate that Left Shoe is heading for a dangerous, perhaps even life threatening, encounter.

What about the foundling I hear you ask. In the wild seas Left Shoe sees a basket and “to his surprise the basket held a tiny, shivering seadog. … it was a girl puppy, dressed in a yellow spotted night dress…. When Left Shoe picked her up … he could feel her trembling.” So this is how we meet Marigold who will soon to become the newest family member. And yes there are three more books in the series too. Check out the author web site. The illustrations (by the author herself) are just perfect. I will certainly add this title to my list of great reads for younger students.

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