What On Earth Can We Do? by Emily Sper

What On Earth Can We Do?

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A children’s book renders a practical environmentalist message in simple language and pictures.

In this volume, Sper (Follow the Yarn: A Book of Colors, 2016, etc.) guides children through basic and actionable recommendations for reducing carbon footprints and minimizing waste. The picture book’s prescriptions are child-friendly in concept (“Repair toys instead of buying new ones”) and also remind young readers of their ability to influence adult behavior (“Kids are teaching their parents to take shorter showers, travel on public transportation or bike to work, set up a compost bin, and use energy-efficient light bulbs”). A spread on recycling gives readers an idea of what may happen to repurposed glass and plastic bottles, while subsequent pages provide guidance on adapting recycling plants to local waste management processes, using just 26 words to explain the difference between commingled and separated recycling systems. Touches of humor, like the menu for a “Worm Café” that accompanies a spread on composting, add to the kid appeal, as does the recurring image of the front page of Planet Earth News, a paper that celebrates young people’s conservation achievements. Sper’s basic but engaging illustrations should appeal to fans of Dick Bruna and Roger Priddy, with solid colors and silhouette-style shapes that produce simple but elegant high-contrast graphics. Most spreads consist of only a few sentences, but for the book’s final pages, Sper turns to “big words and ideas” to provide more detail on climate change, fossil fuels, and renewable energy. Although the text becomes denser in the last pages of the volume, the language remains easy for young readers to follow: “Most cars and computers run on energy from fossil fuels, but there are other sources of energy.” With its emphasis on shaping both individual and adult behavior, the book is likely to make reminders to separate recycling, carry reusable shopping bags, turn off lights, and avoid wasting water a regular part of children’s conversations with their parents.

A concise but thorough environmental primer for young readers enhanced by colorful and attractive illustrations.

Pub Date: July 15th, 2016
ISBN: 978-0-9754902-7-3
Page count: 44pp
Publisher: Jump Press
Program: Kirkus Indie
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