Benjamin's Blue Feet Reviews

Kirkus Reviews

Cover: Benjamin's Blue Feet Author-illustrator: Sue Macartney Publisher: Pajama Press

“A bird learns self-acceptance in this tale with a concealed environmental message….(Editor’s note: An author’s note about ocean trash has been appended to the finished book.) Water-pollution discussion requires an extra step beyond the reading, but this a good place to start.”

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YA Books Central

“What I loved: This is a simple but important message about body image and self-acceptance. Benjamin is an easily likable character that will appeal to young children. The amount of text on each pages is great for a wide range of ages, and I appreciated the word art with key blue-colored words. There is also some back matter about pollution in the oceans, as Benjamin’s treasures are actually trash that has washed ashore that can add to the discussion sparked by the book. I also really enjoyed the front matter with the animals of the Galapagos featured.

Final verdict: Benjamin’s Blue Feet is a cute read with some great themes. This book would be great to begin some discussions about body image, self-acceptance, and environmentalism.”

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CM Magazine

“For those young readers who might giggle at the mention of ‘booby’ (and even inquiring minds might want to know), a booby is a large tropical seabird with brown, black, or white plumage and coloured feet. In this instance, Benjamin’s are obviously a bright blue, and this color is used widely in both the text and the illustrations. Sue Macartney’s graphic designer background is evident in the clever layout of the book, itself. Both the front and back flyleaf are decorated with illustrations of ocean life. The drawings, done in pen, ink and digital media, are playful, action-packed and sparkle with humor. The author has included ‘A note about Trash in the Ocean’ which could lead into an important discussion with even the youngest reader. The publisher has also noted that a glossary of facts about Galapagos wildlife is available at the publisher’s website.

Highly Recommended.”
—Reesa Cohen

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“Nice picture book with a simple – and important – message about self image. The author has also included “A Note about Trash in the Ocean” asking young readers to help reduce waste and help protect wildlife.”

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Youth Services Book Review

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4…

What did you like about the book? This is a sweet story about self-acceptance with a light and humorous feel, as well as science undertones….Benjamin and the side characters are lovable animals with big eyes and cute facial expressions. The animals are labeled on the front end-pages, making it easier for young readers to identify them in the illustrations. The texture in the illustrations, especially the water, brings different elements of the pictures to life….

To whom would you recommend this book? This would be a great class read-aloud as an introduction to a science unit about animal adaptations, how trash affects ocean animals, or the habitat of the Galapagos Islands. I would also recommend it to readers who like animals – there are lots to identify in the illustrations in addition to those in the story. Read-alike with A House for Hermit Crab (Carle).”
—Sarah Bickel, Greenlodge Elementary School, Dedham Massachusetts

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CanLit for LittleCanadians

“Benjamin is a blue-footed booby who lives on an island in the Galapagos and loves searching for treasure. Unfortunately, with plenty of garbage clogging the oceans, it’s not surprising that much settles on Benjamin’s island….

Author-illustrator Sue Macartney tackles a lot of big issues in Benjamin’s Blue Feet while maintaining a sweet story about a curious bird who finds novelty in junk. Like a child who finds gems among stones, Benjamin finds treasure in the garbage that washes up on shore….

Sue Macartney’s art, created with pen and ink and digital media, always places the emphasis on Benjamin’s blue feet except when the garish garbage is around. His blue feet are vibrant and still harmonious with the earthiness of his environment, unlike the incongruous junk with its artificial and discordant colours. Though Sue Macartney carries the reader to the unique environment of the Galapagos through the content of the landscape and its creatures (she also includes a double-spread of an assortment of ‘Creatures of the Galapagos’), I was especially mesmerized by her aquatic environment. She imbues her water with such hues of green and blues and textures of crinkly waves and whitecaps that the saltwater spray is almost palpable.

Benjamin may be surreal as a blue-footed booby who talks and can manipulate man-made junk, but the problem of ocean garbage and negative body image are not. They are dangerous challenges to our world and ourselves and teaching young children about them via an amiable bird reflects well on Sue Macartney and Benjamin both.”

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Mr. Alex’s Bookshelf

“Macartney does a magnificent job not only writing this book, but also providing warm, friendly illustrations with a kid friendly vibe; bringing comfort to young readers. The writing is very relatable to young readers in that it uses phrases that they would associate to something usually found by them. I appreciated how she used kid-related phrases when Benjamin finds treasures on the beach: ‘A string-stretch-it?’

This book is a joy to read! Self-reflection and self-worth are two crucial skills to have at any age. In the classroom, I would use this book to help my students understand what traits help make them uniquely wonderful. Good self-esteem (a good reflection), will always help you appreciate your self-worth. The book is also notable in that it helps children understand the effects of littering; another lesson in itself for young readers.”
—Tyler Stapleton, Contributor

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Mrs. Book Dragon

“I really loved the inside cover with the Galapagos creatures inside and the note at the end about waste in the oceans. I also enjoyed the unique vocabulary, like “string-stretch-it” to describe the trash Benjamin found on the beach. Finally, the overall message of finding what you are good at and embracing being different is just perfect. I love that message.”

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Kids’ Book Buzz

“We rated this book: [4.5/5]…I have never thought of how my body looks compared to other people, but it sounds sad when that happens. I am glad that Benjamin realized that they are all different animals and need to use their body parts differently to survive. I liked this book for the story and the pictures, and I think that any kid will enjoy it.”
—Lydia, Age 6

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