A beautiful natural world, spoiled by modern industrialization, can be restored through “green” activities.
In this misguided picture book, initially cheerful rhyming stanzas with “The House That Jack Built” cadence introduce the glories of our natural world, and then they go on to show its degradation and to suggest simple methods for people to help. Minor begins his series of gorgeous watercolor images with the iconic portrait of Earth from space. This is followed by a series of three “peaceable kingdom” spreads showing animals sharing the savannah, salmon leaping from a river, birds soaring, and Native Americans living in harmony with their world. These give way to agriculture, the introduction of transportation infrastructure, and a busy city-street scene with cars and workers. Then comes the upsetting part, developmentally out of sync with young readers and listeners, who are more likely to be overwhelmed by the images than galvanized by them: a landfill, a sewage pipe emptying into the ocean, a smoky steel-mill floor, a rain forest being despoiled, and melting Arctic glaciers. "Fumes and exhaust choke the air that we breathe, / endangering nature, creating despair." No amount of recycling, riding bicycles, releasing turtles, turning off lights, and using reusable bags is going to cure these large problems. It is dishonest to suggest they will. The inaccurate premise of this book appears in the authors’ note: " 'Going green' can be easy." Not really.
Fantasy in history and prescription, missing its intended audience and everybody else. (Picture book. 4-8)