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Seas and Oceans: oceans of the world

Join Ben Faulks for Something to Think About, the assembly series for children aged 5 - 7

Available now

15 minutes


  • Introduction

    Ben introduces today’s theme

    Duration: 01:17

  • The children of Lilse Marsden CofE Primary Academy in Grimsby

    Tell us about oceans

    Duration: 01:12

  • Song:

    Thank you, Lord No 29, Come and Praise Beginning

    Duration: 03:01

  • Story

    The Slightly Squished Plastic Straw by Tracey Hammet, read by Helen Longworth

    Duration: 05:35

  • Reflection

    on the wonder of oceans and the mystery of creation

    Duration: 02:08

The Slightly Squished Plastic Straw

The Slightly Squished Plastic Straw

Read by Helen Longworth


The day had been good, the sun had been warm

And a little girl sat with her dad and her mum.

She was slurping her drink through a plastic straw

Down on the sand at the edge of the shore.

And if you are wondering why she was slurping,

It was simply because her straw wasn’t working.

“I think my straw’s a bit squished,” she told her Mum.

“Can I have another one?”


Then, there on the sand she dropped her squished straw.

“I don’t need it anymore!” she said.

And off she went, home to bed,

To dream of the waves and their song of the sea,

And the birds above

And the fish beneath.

Of the dolphins and whales.

Of the crabs and the sea snails.

And of all the wonderful things in the deep, greeny-blue ocean.



The slightly squished plastic straw

Lay with the shells on the sand on the shore,

While the moon looked on and the stars blinked,

And whooooosh upon whooooosh the waves washed in.

Closer and closer came the waves.

Then they whirled the straw up and they washed it away

Far, far out to sea where the seagulls glided on the breeze.

Far, far out to sea went the slightly squished plastic straw.


It floated on the waves a long, long way.

Got carried along on the ocean spray.

On and on through wild storms,

Where the waves rolled and rocked and seemed as tall as tower blocks.

On and on, while the wind whined and wailed.

On and on, went the slightly squished plastic straw.

Through calm weather when the sea was still and shiny as a mirror,

Until along swam some shimmery silvery fish.

They were hungry and inquisitive, so they nibbled it.

But the plastic straw made them sick.

Plastic is poisonous for fish.


On and on, went the slightly squished, plastic straw.

On and on, on until the air seemed to grow thick and toxic,

Until it came to an enormous, floating, plastic continent

Made from plastic bottles and bottle tops

And lots more straws and plastic bits and bobs.

All tangled and twisted and knotted and netted,

and mixed up with  plastic confetti.

A terrible continent of waste.

A horrible ugly place, where all the plastic collected,

And it never disappeared. It just grew bigger.


A sea turtle came swimming along,

A fabulous leathery looking thing

With powerful flippers that moved like wings.

It flew through the water, its shell on its back.

It flew through the water, looking for crabs.

It flew through the water, but as it went

It slurped up the straw by accident.

The straw got stuck in its throat

And it made the turtle choke.

The turtle was no more.

Neither was the slightly squished plastic straw.


But there were hundreds, thousands,

Millions more. On beaches, in rivers,

on vast plastic continents that floated in the oceans.

Seabirds flew down thinking straws were fish.

They picked them up and fed them to their chicks.

And yes, of course, the seabird chicks got sick

On the poisonous plastic.


While tucked up in bed,

The little girl slept,

With the salty smell of the sea on her skin.

But she was dreaming,

Of turtles and seabirds and fish,

And a horrible floating land of plastic.

And when she woke up she said there and then,

“I will never use a plastic straw again.

Or plastic bottles, I’ll do my best,

Or there won’t be any turtles left.

All the wonderful life in the sea

Will not be poisoned, not by me!”

The Slightly Squished Plastic Straw was written by Tracey Hammett.



Teacher's Notes - Summer 2017

Teacher's Notes - Summer 2017

Guidance notes and follow-up activities