Busy, colorful cartoons accompany text meant to encourage environmental activism in children.
The title page shows a Quentin Blake–ish, orange-and-black–striped cat in the upper corner. The cat’s speech bubble reads, “Can you find ME every time you turn a page?” The device may help retain the attention of those who begin to flag from too much information—or help more anxious children tune out the most devastating facts. Each double-page spread has a title that organizes a nonlinear movement of topics that range among praising the Earth, proclaiming its demise and saving it. The cartoons sometimes grate inappropriately against the British, prosaic, didactic text, as when sad dogs with bursting bladders and pastel dinosaurs “queue” near the words, “If we lose too many trees…humans could end up extinct—like the dinosaurs!” Then there’s the cartoon about species endangerment: “How will Santa get to all the homes without reindeer?” The art shows much cultural and ability diversity, including an uncomfortable moment between a child in a wheelchair and a “green” family asking, “Do we really need LIFTS?” In addition to providing expected conservation prompts, the text encourages children to ask questions and to be inventive. Besides imploring kids to fight climate change, the text admits at one point, “It’s hard because usually the grown-ups make these decisions….”
Far too hard a sell for the intended audience. (glossary, websites) (Informational picture book. 4-8)