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BAG IN THE WIND by Ted Kooser Kirkus Star


by Ted Kooser & illustrated by Barry Root

Age Range: 5 - 8

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-7636-3001-0
Publisher: Candlewick

In his first children’s title, former Poet Laureate Kooser follows a plastic grocery bag, “just the color of the skin of a yellow onion,” on a skittering journey from landfill to thrift shop. The exquisitely observed narrative renders the American landscape’s dubious symbiosis—nominally natural, persistently industrial—worthy of a child’s attention: “There were lots of young trees along the ditch, their twigs covered with hard little buds that would soon open, and the bag got caught on a branch and hung there the rest of the night, flapping and slapping in the wind.” The author finds people, too, illuminating the good done when “reuse” meshes routinely into everyday life. A girl collects cans and buys a secondhand baseball glove, a man gathers and sells plastic bags to a shopkeeper. Curious readers are drawn toward the bag just as the bag is propelled along its gentle but pernicious cycle. Root’s gouache-and-watercolor pictures, suffused with the pale gold light of early-spring dawns, capture the injured land, its quirky denizens and the bag’s familiar—well—bagginess. Wonderful. (author’s note about recycling plastic bags) (Picture book. 5-8)