Third-grader Marty and her classmates are given a challenge by a visiting environmentalist: to develop Earth-friendly projects that she will then judge.
Third-grade imaginations are untamed and funny. After an ill-conceived paper-making plan destroys her parents’ food processor, Marty and her best friend Annie get involved in a worm-powered composting project that’s supposed to help with wasted cafeteria food. Other classmates build a giant Super-Earth-Woman out of recycled materials, grow petunias and create a recycling-reminder buzzer. Marty, determined to win, is frustrated when her worms can’t begin to keep up with the volume of garbage generated. She worries that all she has to show for her project is “a bunch of half-eaten carrot sticks and worm poop,” and she's convinced that those will never save the planet. Floca’s cheery black-and-white illustrations match the upbeat theme of the tale, and with at least one per brief chapter, they break up the text pages nicely. Marty’s first-person commentary, sometimes just a tiny bit sarcastic, splendidly conveys the eroding innocence of middle-graders.
A quick, amusing read with an easily digestible environmental message; it is a perfect match for its young intended audience. (Fiction. 6-9)