Wednesday 8 April 2020

The Tale of a Toothbrush by MG Leonard - Q&A and COMPETITION

To cheer up all our Picture Book Party readers on this fine Thursday, we thought we'd share with you all a behind-the-scenes Q&A with the one and only, M. G. Leonard - author of the brand new The Tale of a Toothbrush: A Story of Plastic in Our Oceans. Make sure to scroll down to download our Toothbrush activity sheets too! 

To make things even better, we even have a wonderful giveaway for you all to enter to be in with a chance to WIN a copy of The Tale of a Toothbrush and your very own bamboo toothbrush boxset from our friends over at Brushbox (more info below).

What inspired you to write The Tale of a Toothbrush?

I’ve been concerned with the pollution of the oceans since 2010, when I read an article about how the ocean as we imagine it doesn’t exist any longer because of the rubbish we’ve thrown into it. I have been noodling with story ideas on the subject for years, but the topic is so vast and so sad I couldn’t see how to approach it without writing something truly depressing, and I am not interested in writing that kind of a story. In 2018 I started working with Lauren St John, creating the movement Authors4Oceans, and became more determined to publish a story about the problem with plastic. This particular story came from a conversation I imagined taking place between an albatross – one of the birds worst affected by ocean pollution – and a toothbrush. I imagined the toothbrush telling the albatross the story of his life and from that sprang the idea for the picture book.

Why, out of all the millions of items of plastic, did you choose a Toothbrush as your protagonist?

It was an instinctive choice. My six-year-old son loves his toothbrush, and I wanted a plastic item that children could relate to, that could be a cheerful bright colour.

What was it like to see Daniel Rieley's illustrations for the first time?

Daniel’s illustrations are beautiful, and as this is my debut picture book, it was the first time I’d seen a story of mine brought to life with so much colour and texture. It was wonderful and surprisingly moving to see Sammy, and the other plastic items brought to life.

What are your top toothbrush re-use tips?

A toothbrush is a very useful item to keep beside your kitchen sink, for cleaning those hard to reach nooks and crannies. They are also brilliant at scrubbing at limescale in your sinks and toilet. Put one in your bike box, for use when cleaning your chain, and if you’re crafty, a toothbrush is a good addition to your artist’s pencil case to create texture. 

For all the kids staying at home, what can they be doing to still keep up their care for the environment?

This is a brilliant time to march around your house and look at the plastic items you use in each room. Make a list of the things that you find in each room, then try and think of a more environmentally friendly item that could replace it. 

For example, you can swap your plastic toothbrush for a bamboo toothbrush. Or you can swap your plastic containers of milk for delivery in glass bottles. Do you have plastic bottles of hand soap? Why not swap them for a bar of soap? 

Just one small change makes a difference. See how many changes you could make.

- MG Leonard

Make sure to download our The Tale of a Toothbrush activity sheets here

ENTER below to WIN your very own copy of The Tale of a Toothbrush: A Story of Plastic in our Oceans by M G Leonard and Daniel Rieley, and your very own bamboo toothbrush boxset from Brushbox, a new sustainable subscription box that really cares about you, others and the environment. It is the most sustainable and convenient way to getting a healthy mouth and a healthy planet!

"Your toothbrush needs replacing more often than you think (dentists recommend replacing your toothbrush every 2 months) so you might as well do it in the most sustainable way possible. Our range of bamboo toothbrushes are 100% recyclable and biodegradable, helping combat the 3.6 billion plastic toothbrushes that end up in our oceans and landfills every year - now there is something to smile about.

Not only are we helping to reduce the plastic waste in our everyday lives but we also promise that every toothbrush bought, we will donate one to a child in need and plant a tree on your behalf. That is our Buy 1, Give 1, Plant 1 promise."

***IMPORTANT: due to the current state of affairs, after the competition closes, the winner will be contacted but some prizes may not be delivered until the country-wide Stay Home period has ceased. COMPETITION CLOSES 27th April, midday***