While the book suffers from a lack of well-blended content, the author’s premise that a government/industry collaboration...



This exposé of a misguided recycling program falls somewhat short because of its loosely organized content.

Environmental and energy lawyer David McRobert sets out to establish a connection between the Ontario, Canada “Blue Box” recycling program and the soft drink industry. He claims that many of the program’s environmental benefits “are illusory and exaggerated” and that “the real benefactors of the Blue Box system are the soft drink companies who lobbied hard to get it established.” McRobert presents a case study, extracted from a 1994 thesis he wrote, that traces the history of the Blue Box program and assesses its environmental and health impacts. The thesis highlights appropriate facts and figures and reaches a legitimate conclusion, but stylistically, it is more scholarly than reader friendly. An extended bibliography (“References and Materials”) included with the case study consumes as many pages as the thesis text itself. The remainder of the book consists of five essays dated February and March 2012 (which unintentionally draws attention to the fact that the author’s thesis is over fifteen years old) and more than 100 pages of appendices. The essays, written by McRobert and Tyler F. M. Edwards, are opinion pieces about the unhealthy consumption of soft drinks and the negative impact soft drink manufacturers have on the environment. One essay, for example, refers to Coca-Cola’s use of animated polar bears in its advertising. McRobert and Edwards suggest that the company’s reliance on aluminum cans, “an incredibly wasteful and energy inefficient form of packaging,” does more harm to polar bears than good because it helps increase greenhouse gas emissions that “melt the Arctic ice sheets.” The author’s views on environmental and health issues demonstrate a valid concern, yet this work is hampered by its patchwork organization. The material seems to have been somewhat haphazardly assembled rather than carefully curated. The reader quite possibly could become lost in the potpourri of prose and, as a result, might miss the importance of McRobert’s central message.

While the book suffers from a lack of well-blended content, the author’s premise that a government/industry collaboration can be harmful to consumers’ health is a worthy argument deserving of attention.

Pub Date: July 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1470127466

Page Count: 258

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2012

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A YA novel that treats its subject and its readers with respect while delivering an engaging story.



In the ninth book in the Bluford young-adult series, a young Latino man walks away from violence—but at great personal cost.

In a large Southern California city, 16-year-old Martin Luna hangs out on the fringes of gang life. He’s disaffected, fatherless and increasingly drawn into the orbit of the older, rougher Frankie. When a stray bullet kills Martin’s adored 8-year-old brother, Huero, Martin seems to be heading into a life of crime. But Martin’s mother, determined not to lose another son, moves him to another neighborhood—the fictional town of Bluford, where he attends the racially diverse Bluford High. At his new school, the still-grieving Martin quickly makes enemies and gets into trouble. But he also makes friends with a kind English teacher and catches the eye of Vicky, a smart, pretty and outgoing Bluford student. Martin’s first-person narration supplies much of the book’s power. His dialogue is plain, but realistic and believable, and the authors wisely avoid the temptation to lard his speech with dated and potentially embarrassing slang. The author draws a vivid and affecting picture of Martin’s pain and confusion, bringing a tight-lipped teenager to life. In fact, Martin’s character is so well drawn that when he realizes the truth about his friend Frankie, readers won’t feel as if they are watching an after-school special, but as though they are observing the natural progression of Martin’s personal growth. This short novel appears to be aimed at urban teens who don’t often see their neighborhoods portrayed in young-adult fiction, but its sophisticated characters and affecting story will likely have much wider appeal.

A YA novel that treats its subject and its readers with respect while delivering an engaging story.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2004

ISBN: 978-1591940173

Page Count: 152

Publisher: Townsend Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2013

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A short, simple, and sweet tale about two friends and a horse.

Mary's Song

From the Dream Horse Adventure Series series , Vol. 1

A novel tells the story of two spirited girls who set out to save a lame foal in 1952.

Mary, age 12, lacks muscle control of her legs and must use a wheelchair. Her life is constantly interrupted by trips with her widower father to assorted doctors, all of whom have failed to help her. Mary tolerates the treatments, hoping to one day walk unassisted, but her true passion involves horses. Possessing a library filled with horse books, she loves watching and drawing the animals at a neighboring farm. She longs to own one herself. But her father, overprotective due to her disability and his own lingering grief over Mary’s dead mother, makes her keep her distance. Mary befriends Laura, the emotionally neglected daughter of the wealthy neighboring farm owners, and the two share secret buggy rides. Both girls are attracted to Illusion, a beautiful red bay filly on the farm. Mary learns that Illusion is to be put down by a veterinarian because of a lame leg. Horrified, she decides to talk to the barn manager about the horse (“Isn’t it okay for her to live even if she’s not perfect? I think she deserves a chance”). Soon, Mary and Laura attempt to raise money to save Illusion. At the same time, Mary begins to gain control of her legs thanks to water therapy and secret therapeutic riding with Laura. There is indeed a great deal of poignancy in a story of a girl with a disability fighting to defend the intrinsic value of a lame animal. But this book, the first installment of the Dream Horse Adventure Series, would be twice as touching if Mary interacted with Illusion more. In the tale’s opening, she watches the foal from afar, but she actually spends very little time with the filly she tries so hard to protect. This turns out to be a strange development given the degree to which the narrative relies on her devotion. Count (Selah’s Sweet Dream, 2015) draws Mary and Laura in broad but believable strokes, defined mainly by their unrelenting pluckiness in the face of adversity. While the work tackles disability, death, and grief, Mary’s and Laura’s environments are so idyllic and their optimism and perseverance so remarkable that the story retains an aura of uncomplicated gentleness throughout.

A short, simple, and sweet tale about two friends and a horse.

Pub Date: N/A


Page Count: -

Publisher: Hastings Creations Group

Review Posted Online: Oct. 15, 2016

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