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GARBAGE by Robert Maass


by Robert Maass & photographed by Robert Maass

Age Range: 7 - 9

Pub Date: May 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-8050-5951-2
Publisher: Henry Holt

A better photographer than writer, Maass (Tugboats, 1997) matches bright, revealing color photographs of trash and garbage (he doesn’t distinguish between the two) on its way from lunch table to either landfill or backyard compost pile, with a series of impersonal generalities that rob the journey of most of its interest or educational value. Unusual and fascinating shots of a landfill seemingly the size of a small country, a long conveyor belt lined with sanitation workers sorting recyclables, trash sculptures, big machinery, and the like are weighed down by awkward writing: “In some cities, trucks transfer the garbage to barges.” Other problems include superficialities and self-evident contradictions, as in the view of a landscape carpeted with gulls that is captioned by the claim that landfills are layered with dirt to keep animals away. Simplistic discussions of hazardous waste and composting stretch the already attenuated topical coverage even further. The pictures may be a match for anything else on the subject, but for informational purposes stick with the many more narrowly focused books for younger children on recycling, waste, and sanitation careers. (glossary) (Picture book nonfiction. 7-9)