National Trust: The Wide, Wide Sea

National Trust: The Wide, Wide Sea

By Author / Illustrator

Anna Wilson, Jenny Lovlie



Age range(s)



Nosy Crow Ltd




Paperback / softback




A lyrical and inspirational picture book about protecting nature from plastic pollution.When a young child forges a special connection with a seal on a trip to the seaside, their imagination takes them on an unforgettable journey. Through their eyes, we have a chance to explore everything the amazing beach and wide, wide sea has to offer . . . until suddenly a violent storm blows in. The next morning the beach is ugly . . . and covered in litter. Whose fault is it? And who can fix it? Together, the child, their grandmother, and the rest of the community clean the beach, and the child makes a promise to the seal that things will change for the better.

Written by author and wild-swimmer Anna Wilson and illustrated by Waterstones Children's Book Prize winner Jenny Lovlie, this is the perfect story to share with children from 3+ who love the seaside.  Published in collaboration with the National Trust, who protect over 700 miles of wild coastline in the UK. Every Nosy Crow paperback picture book comes with a free 'Stories Aloud' audio recording - just scan the QR code and listen along!

Find out more in this Q&A & video with Anna Wilson



The Wide, Wide Sea, published by Nosy Crow in collaboration with the National Trust, is an empowering story about preserving our beaches and protecting our sea animals from plastic pollution. Jenny Lovlie's illustrations in this book prompt an emotive response from the reader as we see the beauty of the sea and the torment it suffers from human negligence.

We meet a little girl who takes a trip to the beach with her gran - something many of us can relate to. There is a great wide range of vocabulary explored as she finds all sorts of treasures on the sand to keep. The enthusiastic pair even spot a seal in the water who steals their hearts as the little girl makes a very special connection with it. Inevitably, the clouds eventually roll in and it's time to go home before the storm hits. Morning comes and everything at the seaside seems different - broken and destroyed. The beach is full of things that shouldn't be there. Who did this? Who would put their mess here? Together, the community clear the beach and restore it to its former beauty as the little girl makes a very special promise to the seal.

There are so many uses for this book and it can be enjoyed by children right across the primary range. It would be perfect as: a story time text, a pivotal text in a topic, to share as part of an assembly, or even to read purely for its grammatical teaching elements with its use of adjectives and onomatopoeic words. The Wide, Wide Sea is a very relevant book to be enjoyed by many.

32 pages / Reviewed by Jessica Bunney

Suggested Reading Age 3+


What a beautiful book with such an important message! We shared this gorgeous book in Year 2 and were drawn in immediately by the gentle, lyrical text weaved through the colourful illustrations.

The Wide, Wide Sea tells the story of a child and their Grandma visiting the sea and spending time on the shoreline exploring the treasures and living things there. We learned new words and discovered the names of living things found by the child. Unfortunately, a storm brings havoc to the coastline and the following day, the child and their Grandma experience the devastating impact that plastic pollution is having on our seas and oceans. With the support of the local community they work together to make a difference to their local coastline and make a promise that "things will be different one day! "

We enjoyed the magical trip the child took with the playful seal, where they found out more about all the living things in the seas. We thought that the seal was important in the story because he showed the child the beauty of the sea and its treasures. This book should be shared in every classroom as it's message to care for our environment is everyone's responsibility. This will definitely be used to support our work on caring for our world and plastic pollution. Thank you to Anna Wilson, Jenny Lovlie, Nosy Crow and the National Trust for this wonderful book.

Picture book / Reviewed by Maria Aldred, teacher

Suggested Reading Age 5+


The Wide, Wide Sea is an inspirational story about the beach environment, habitat and pollution. A child is taken to the beach where they discover gifts from the sea - limpets, driftwood, whelks. When they spot a seal in the sea, the child realises they are standing on his home. When the seal dives and disappears under the water, the child takes us on an imaginary adventure into the wide, wide sea and far below the waves where the beautifully drawn illustrations show natural underwater features as well as many sea creatures.

Night falls and a storm brews. The child is worried about the seal but dreams of an underwater adventure where all is safe from the wild storm above. As morning approaches and the storm passes, it leaves a trail of destruction; the beautiful beach that glistened yesterday is now wild, broken and messy. The storm has washed up people's mess - and plenty of it. The best place in the whole wide world, is no more. But it can be fixed.. with the help of caring people who have come to pick up the plastic bags, bottles and rubbish.

Before long, the beach is looking better and as the sun peeks out, the head of the seal bobs out of the water. The child apologies for the mess that people have made and promises that things will be different one day.

This is an ideal picture book for covering many topics; coastal and underwater environment, habitats, sea and coastal creatures, pollution, collaboration and community support. This engaging story with clear, colourful illustrations would be a perfect resource to engage and enthuse young learners, exciting them and encouraging them to be questioning about their actions and imaginative of similar underwater adventures.

Picture book / Reviewed by Maria Faithorn, teacher

Suggested Reading Age 5+


This book, published in collaboration with the National Trust, tells the story of a child who makes a special connection with a seal whilst enjoying a glorious trip to the beach. That night, a storm rolls in and the next morning the beach is covered in litter. With a team effort, peace is restored but the book asks the question, Whose fault is it? And who can help to fix the problem?

Aiming to show that no one is too small to make a difference, this is a great book for introducing the environmental issue of litter to younger children. The illustrations are lovely and well detailed, with lots of things to discuss on every page. The story is easy to follow and the language is easy to follow but also provides opportunities to build vocabulary.

In a school setting, this would be a great book to use in PSHE or Science when talking about environments and human impact. It would also be a good book to use in English lessons as the word choices and descriptions are powerful too.

Suggested Reading Age 5+


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