Justine, an environmentally focused grade schooler, is back for another easy-to-read outing (Justine McKeen: Queen of Green, 2011).
Known as the Queen of Green, Justine turns her attention here to exhaust fumes, wishing that what poured out of cars always looked filthy so more people would notice it. She gets the idea to arrange walking school buses: Groups of children shepherded to school en masse. Parent chaperones would collect children at their homes, follow a regular route each day and deliver them safely—without air pollution—to school, all on foot. Justine canvases her neighborhood looking for help from mostly unwilling adults, all of whom discouragingly regard her as a bit strange. The same cast of characters from the last outing reappear—bullying Blatzo and best friends Michael and Safdar—but, if anything, are even less well developed than in their previous cardboard appearances. Mild humor will elicit some chuckles, as when Justine encourages the janitor, frustrated because girls are kissing the mirrors with lipstick, to convince them that he cleans restrooms with water from the toilets. Playful black-and-white illustrations accompany the text. Notes for students provide advice on easy environmentally friendly activities.
Amusing, with a mild bathroom humor flavor (including a fart noise machine) that’s sure to appeal, the book's environmental message makes it a somewhat useful purchase. (Fiction. 6-9)