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Trash to Treasure Series: Recycling Creatively with L.T

by Tom Noll illustrated by Brandon Fall

Pub Date: Jan. 26th, 2014
ISBN: 978-1939377500
Publisher: Green Kids Press

The first installation of Noll’s environmental picture-book series centers on a boy and father who imaginatively transform others’ discarded objects into functional items.

Young L.T., short for “Little Tommy,” often accompanies his father to the junkyard. Illustrator Fall’s boldly colored graphic illustrations depict L.T. and his father in their “junkyard truck,” (assembled with recycled parts) arriving at a heaping pile of castoff bicycles, television sets, guitars, teddy bears, and more. A maniacally enthusiastic “Recycleville” keeper, Mr. Salvage, perches on top of the pile. What others perceive as trash, L.T.’s father envisions as pieces of treasure. Though L.T. is less than enthused by the secondhand aesthetic of their truck and other items, his teacher, Miss White, helps him realize the positive environmental impact of reusing materials. This concept may be a little abstract for some young readers, particularly since the book doesn’t explain how recycling benefits the Earth, but this omission may provide an opening for parents or caretakers to explain. When L.T.’s father suggests they build a bike out of recycled mismatching parts, L.T. is concerned about the appearance of his ride. Ultimately, L.T. sets an example for young readers by respecting his father’s lessons while creatively achieving his own vision. Fall’s lively depictions show L.T.’s face lighting up as he realizes he can paint the bike a uniform white. L.T. even makes the most of his ugly bike helmet by wearing a hat on top. L.T. continues to be inspired by his father’s inventiveness, always finding a solution for challenges by recycling. As an endnote, Noll offers the young reader a list of 15 easy ways to reduce environmental impact, recycle, and save energy. Additionally, Noll provides environmental awareness fliers, coloring pages with Fall’s illustrations, and more to encourage the young environmental activist.

An idea-inspiring addition to the burgeoning genre of environmentally conscientious children’s books. Young readers will learn about compromise as well as innovative ways to recycle.