A call to action for kids to make positive differences in their neighborhoods.

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CoCo & Dean

EXPLORERS OF THE WORLD

Scofield introduces ideas of environmental sustainability to young readers in this accessible debut.

In three short stories, young siblings Chloe and Dean make discoveries about the amount of waste that humans create. The children live in a suburban neighborhood, where their two parents work, and they play in the woods behind their house. In the first story, Chloe, whose nickname is CoCo, shows her love of animals. When a cardinal seems to be following her, she decides that it’s trying to tell her something. She then notices how the bird uses everything it has, and the girl realizes just how much she wastes in her own life. In the next tale, the kids climb a mountain near their grandparents’ house and find out, to their dismay, that it’s an old landfill—an artificial mountain of trash. In the last story, during a family vacation to Hawaii the children are horrified to learn about the great “Plastic Vortex” that causes trash to wash up on the beach in a place they consider paradise. In each instance, the siblings take action, showing ways that even kids can make positive impacts on the environment. The format, which provides questions at the end of each tale, makes the collection well-suited for use in schools teaching environmental topics, Scout troops, or environmental clubs looking for material to inspire members to create projects in their communities. Luo’s images, a combination of photographs and stylized illustrations, are a perfect match for the text and show how humans interact with their environments. While Scofield’s vocabulary may sometimes be a stretch for her intended audience (“Silence befell them as they began their ascent”), her protagonists have an easy, comfortable relationship, and they’re never so perfect that they’re not relatable. A glossary helps explain the book’s environmental terms, including “Ecological Footprint—the impact an individual has on its environment through daily living (eating, going places, making waste).”

A call to action for kids to make positive differences in their neighborhoods.

Pub Date: April 30, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-943258-99-4

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Warren Publishing, Inc.

Review Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2015

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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THE LORAX

The greening of Dr. Seuss, in an ecology fable with an obvious message but a savingly silly style. In the desolate land of the Lifted Lorax, an aged creature called the Once-ler tells a young visitor how he arrived long ago in the then glorious country and began manufacturing anomalous objects called Thneeds from "the bright-colored tufts of the Truffula Trees." Despite protests from the Lorax, a native "who speaks for the trees," he continues to chop down Truffulas until he drives away the Brown Bar-ba-loots who had fed on the Tuffula fruit, the Swomee-Swans who can't sing a note for the smogulous smoke, and the Humming-Fish who had hummed in the pond now glumped up with Gluppity-Glupp. As for the Once-let, "1 went right on biggering, selling more Thneeds./ And I biggered my money, which everyone needs" — until the last Truffula falls. But one seed is left, and the Once-let hands it to his listener, with a message from the Lorax: "UNLESS someone like you/ cares a whole awful lot,/ nothing is going to get better./ It's not." The spontaneous madness of the old Dr. Seuss is absent here, but so is the boredom he often induced (in parents, anyway) with one ridiculous invention after another. And if the Once-let doesn't match the Grinch for sheer irresistible cussedness, he is stealing a lot more than Christmas and his story just might induce a generation of six-year-olds to care a whole lot.

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 1971

ISBN: 0394823370

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1971

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