A young boy picks up a piece of litter and changes the course of the day for many other living creatures.
In the park, a soda can glints in the sun. The boy runs to pick it up and put it in the recycling bin. A smile lights up his face, but he does not know how much this one, tiny action really matters. A butterfly flutters in the sky after the boy’s good deed is complete, appropriately hinting at the butterfly effect to come. In economical text, Hughes describes the many ways that others are affected by the boy’s action. A “hungry, nibbly mouse” may have gotten sick from the can, or the storm drain may have clogged, flooding the flowers. “It mattered to seventy-three blades of grass” and one dandelion puff that the boy delicately blows. Hatam’s spacious, digital illustrations show the two-toned black-and-white boy in the middle of a colored landscape. The story stretches beyond the confines of the park via the drain that the can cannot clog and a stream that will continue to flow freely all the way to the ocean, which can’t now throw the can back onto the beach. In a spread full of joyful splashes of water, Hughes heralds: “He made the earth just a little more blue, a smidgen more green.”
A beguiling, environmental musing on how one small act can have far-reaching consequences. (Picture book. 4-8)