In their second STEAM-powered exploration (Full STEAM Ahead!, 2014), mouse twins Sydney and Simon investigate the problem of garbage.
Sydney’s foray into trash tracking starts with a field trip to the aquarium, where a green sea turtle is recuperating after eating plastic. It doesn’t take much of a leap for Sydney to make a connection: “The more trash we make, the more there’s a chance that some of that trash could end up in the ocean.” The two keep a tally of their family’s trash for a week, and the results are eye-opening. Their school is an even larger garbage generator. Ms. Fractalini helps the twins use science, technology, engineering, arts, and math to come up with a way to raise awareness and encourage the community to participate in a solution. A sculpture of Greenie the turtle made out of trash and a song about going green are the start of a communitywide movement to reduce, reuse, and recycle. Along the way, readers will learn lots about decomposition, how quickly garbage adds up, and ways to reduce trash. Ink-and–watercolor-wash illustrations help break up the text and put pictures in readers’ heads that will stick with them, making them likely to want to get on the green bandwagon.
Though STEAM is not emphasized as much as it was in the first book, that’s not a bad thing, as it helps readers to focus on Sydney and Simon’s problem-solving, which they are likely to see as quite doable in their own communities. (glossary, author and illustrator’s note) (Fiction. 7-10)