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100 TOP CHILDREN’S BOOK AUTHORS TELL YOU HOW TO GO GREEN

Worthy and well meant, if readable only in small doses, this compendium gathers advice and personal testimony from a host of active writers about ways to cut down on energy use and waste. With some exceptions, such as Robert Lipsyte’s Ten Rules to Save the Planet (“Never flush the toilet. When it gets hot in the house, walk around naked”), the entries are earnest in tone and practical (if repetitive) in content: Carry water and lunches in reusable containers; find alternatives to plastic bags; set up a community or school “swap shop.” For would-be activists, Susan Cooper offers the tried and true “Ask questions; create guilt,” and Bruce Balan cranks that up a notch: “Adults are destroying your world. So let them know about it. Shout it out. Get in their face.” The one- to three-page statements march on relentlessly to the large annotated list of websites at the end. The contributors’ names may draw well-read audiences, but the project-oriented approach in the likes of Anne Jankeliowitch’s 50 Ways to Save the Earth (2008), illustrated by Philippe Bourseiller, provides clearer blueprints for promoting a green agenda. (Nonfiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: March 24, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-385-73721-0

Page Count: 268

Publisher: Yearling/Random

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2009

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BRIAN'S RETURN

Paulsen brings the story he began in Hatchet (1987) and continued in the alternate sequels The River (1991) and Brian’s Winter (1996) around to a sometimes-mystical close. Surviving the media coverage and the unwanted attention of other high school students has become more onerous to Brian than his experiences in the wild; realizing that the wilderness has become larger within him than the need to be with people, Brian methodically gathers survival equipment—listed in detail—then leaves his old life behind. It takes some time, plus a brutal fight and sessions with a savvy counselor, before Brian reaches that realization, but once out under the trees, it’s obvious that his attachment to the wild is a permanent one. Becoming ever more attuned to the natural wonders around him, he travels over a succession of lakes and streams, pausing to make camp, howl with a wolf, read Shakespeare to a pair of attentive otters and, once, to share a meal with an old man who talks about animal guides and leaves a medicine bundle for him. Readers hoping for the high adventure of the previous books may be disappointed, as Brian is now so skilled that a tipped canoe or a wild storm are only inconveniences, and even bears more hazard than threat; still, Paulsen bases many of his protagonist’s experiences on his own, and the wilderness through which Brian moves is vividly observed. Afterword. (Fiction. 11-13)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-385-32500-2

Page Count: 116

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 1998

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ACCIDENTS MAY HAPPEN

FIFTY INVENTIONS DISCOVERED BY MISTAKE

In this entertaining companion volume to Mistakes that Worked (1994), Jones describes more of the often humorous incidents that resulted in inventions, products, and fashions. The telephone and photography are discussed as well as cellophane, Bakelite, Masonite, and dynamite. Another chapter offers speculation as to the origins of yeast, raisins, coffee, and vinegar, without much in the way of documentation, and a part of a chapter is devoted to the meanings of some nursery rhymes (it's never clear what they have to do with inventions). Nevertheless, this is entertaining reading, with whimsical black-and-white drawings, places to write for more information, a brief bibliography, and an index. (Nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: June 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-385-32162-7

Page Count: 86

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1996

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