A sensitive, thoughtful book that effectively conveys the impact each person has on the environment.


Lelani and the Plastic Kingdom

In Johnston’s (The Woodcutter and the Most Beautiful Tree, 2011) latest environmentally conscious tale, a young girl is inspired to become an activist after visiting an island made of plastic refuse.

Lelani is a carefree child who spends her days paddleboarding in the bright ocean. One day, she finds a message in a plastic bottle summoning her to visit an island called New Flotsam. Intrigued, she ventures out on her paddleboard to the mysterious locale. After a long journey, she finds herself on “[a]n entire continent made of waste from all the other continents.” There, she meets Big Sam, a boy who presides as emperor of the wasteland. He shows Lelani animals tangled in plastic and a forest made of plastic straws. Johnston’s pastel illustrations sensitively depict the beautiful natural world as it’s threatened by the growing trash problem. Like Dr. Seuss’ Lorax, Big Sam explains to Lelani that human pollution is destroying the wildlife. Big Sam explains the rapid growth of the island, thanks to other places’ waste: “Decisions made in the Fast Lands, no matter how tiny and small, can have a big effect in New Flotsam, which is why I have answered the call.” Through Big Sam’s words, Johnston conveys his message in a clear manner that young readers will fully comprehend. Also, the sadness of the animals tangled in the garbage is likely to evoke readers’ sympathy. Big Sam implores Lelani to return to the mainland as an ambassador of change. She takes her mission to heart, creating reusable alternatives to plastic products for her friends and family, and she passionately educates everyone around her. Her impassioned approach is likely to inspire children to action, and the measures she takes are entirely accessible for young readers. Overall, this book is highly recommended for educators or caregivers looking for a way to educate children and inspire them to be environmentally conscientious.

A sensitive, thoughtful book that effectively conveys the impact each person has on the environment.

Pub Date: Sept. 25, 2014

ISBN: 978-1935356417

Page Count: 48

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Dec. 2, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2015

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The book is perfect for read-alouds, with occasional, often onomatopoeic Spanish words such as “quiquiriquí,” “tacatac” and...


Inspired by Colombian librarian Luis Soriano Bohórquez, Brown’s latest tells of a little girl whose wish comes true when a librarian and two book-laden burros visit her remote village.

Ana loves to read and spends all of her free time either reading alone or to her younger brother. She knows every word of the one book she owns. Although she uses her imagination to create fantastical bedtime tales for her brother, she really wants new books to read. Everything changes when a traveling librarian and his two donkeys, Alfa and Beto, arrive in the village. Besides loaning books to the children until his next visit, the unnamed man also reads them stories and teaches the younger children the alphabet. When Ana suggests that someone write a book about the traveling library, he encourages her to complete this task herself. After she reads her library books, Ana writes her own story for the librarian and gives it to him upon his reappearance—and he makes it part of his biblioburro collection. Parra’s colorful folk-style illustrations of acrylics on board bring Ana’s real and imaginary worlds to life. This is a child-centered complement to Jeanette Winter’s Biblioburro (2010), which focuses on Soriano.

The book is perfect for read-alouds, with occasional, often onomatopoeic Spanish words such as “quiquiriquí,” “tacatac” and “iii-aah” adding to the fun.   (author’s note, glossary of Spanish terms) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: July 12, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-58246-353-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tricycle

Review Posted Online: June 6, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2011

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This companion piece to the other fairy tales Marcia Brown has interpreted (see Puss In Boots, 1952, p. 548 and others) has the smoothness of a good translation and a unique charm to her feathery light pictures. The pictures have been done in sunset colors and the spreads on each page as they illustrate the story have the cumulative effect of soft cloud banks. Gentle.

Pub Date: June 15, 1954

ISBN: 0684126761

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1954

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