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.