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Mariajo Ilustrajo
Frances Lincoln
Age 7+

When everyone woke up one summer’s day in the city everything was different because everything was wet. At first the inhabitants didn’t mind and got on with their busy lives, many even thought it was fun. But the water level continued to rise until it threatened priceless works of art and endangered the smaller individuals. One inhabitant had seen what the problem was, but no one would listen to him. When the flooding could no longer be ignored, eventually everyone did listen, and they solved the problem together.

This is a sophisticated picture book about cooperation and teamwork. The illustrations are stylish with a striking greyscale and aquamarine palette. The illustrations are interesting in content too, with lots to spot and touches of humour – for example the city dwellers are animals with ingenious responses to the increasing water levels.  

Mariajo introduces her prize-winning book and talks about how she created it here:


Share the story

Read aloud
Read the story aloud to your child pausing to talk about what is happening and enjoy the illustrations when your child wants to.

Join in
There are lots of conversations in the story and these would be great to read together when your child is familiar with the story.  You could talk about reading the words in bold print in a louder voice.

Talk about the story
◼︎Talk about the animals’ different responses to the flooding and how their views change as the flood worsens.
◼︎Talk about why your child thinks the small creature who understands the problem is ignored.
◼︎Talk about what your child would tell someone else about this book and what the author’s message is

Things to make and do

Make a placard
Look at the page where the animals are holding placards underwater. Using squares of card attached to lolly sticks. Your child could make several – it might be fun to take a photo of a group of soft toys holding them.

Write a message in a bottle
Your child could imagine they are one of the animals caught up in the flood and write an SOS message to the rescue services or your MP. Perhaps your child could place the message in a bottle imagining it might float to its destination in the flood.

Design an outfit for underwater living
Look back at the illustration of the animals underwater. Your child could design an outfit for breathing and living underwater.

Draw an extra scene for the story
Suggest your child chooses a few favourite animals from the story and imagines how they might get about as the flood water rises.

They could use pencil to draw the animals and blue/green paint for the rising water.

Make a certificate
Your child could create a special certificate or medal for the hero who saved the town from flooding.

Find out more

Find out more about the book’s creator Mariajo Ilustrajo

Find out about real life flooding:
In the story the cause of the flooding was someone not pulling the plug out. Find out about real causes and effects of flooding:

◼︎News Round report on Flooding in Nottinghamshire January 2024

◼︎News Round report on Climate change

◼︎US children’s Science programme on flooding