In Noll’s (The Bicycle Fence, 2015) second installment of his environmentally minded children’s book series, a young boy gets his start as a chicken and egg farmer.
As in the previous book, Noll begins by introducing readers to the concept of recycling to reduce waste and ultimately preserve the planet. To that end, he very clearly lays out a dictionary definition of recycling and the different ways that readers can participate in the process. (Even the book’s sturdy pages are recycled.) A little more explanation for young readers about how recycling helps the planet would have been useful, and it could make for a good discussion topic for an adult caregiver and child. Noll reintroduces L.T. as an industrious, thoughtful boy who’s always giving new life and purpose to discarded objects. Here, the author presents a positive role model for children that will be easy for them to emulate. The first illustration by Fall and Nishio shows an excited L.T. collecting discarded springs in front of his makeshift fence made of bicycle parts and his “recycled pets” that he rescued from an animal shelter. As in the previous book, graphic washes of bold colors create vibrant scenes. The illustrators constantly change viewpoints throughout the story, and the fast-paced tale’s expressive characters give it an energetic flow. Later, L.T. is charged with the important task of caring for his grandparents’ chickens while they’re on vacation. He’s rewarded for his responsible caretaking with a dozen chicks of his very own and learns that chicks have many needs, such as warmth and shelter. Using resources at hand, he scours the attic and makes a surprising home for the chicks out of seemingly useless items, such as a feather boa and an abandoned dollhouse. An ambitious young entrepreneur, he then designs a portable nest and attaches it to his bike so that he can sell the freshest eggs around. Once again, Noll shows young readers how L.T.’s creative reimagining of recycled materials makes for successful projects. Overall, although this book has a less universally applicable lesson than the previous installment, it’s just as inspiring.
An upbeat tale of resourceful recycling for young environmentalists.