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The Water, Earth, and Air We Share

by Molly Bang & illustrated by Molly Bang

Age Range: 7 - 10

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-590-10056-4
Publisher: Blue Sky/Scholastic

Conservation and responsibility for our shared natural resources is the heart of an allegory that inspires respect for the environment, described tidily in simple terms. Once upon a time, villagers could bring sheep to a commons, "common ground" to everyone in the village. The eventual outcome--too many sheep and not enough grass--provides the historical example that is invoked repeatedly to explain problems and issues arising from present-day overuse of life-sustaining resources and global short-sightedness. Bang (Goose, 1996, etc.) outlines the depletion of the seas, forests, fossil fuels, and water in a series of pithy but easily comprehensible vignettes. Each tenet of basic ecology presented spins on the same axis--the concept of one earth, with limitations as to its renewability; then Bang drives home the "share the planet" precept in a dramatic denouement. Happy greens (grass) and sprightly blues (water, sky) give way to gray rooftops and smokestacks throughout, but it is the lone planet swirling against a canvas of black that is sure to stop readers in their tracks. It's a timely, provocative message, housed in a small, weighty book. (Picture book. 7-10)