Campbell (Kai and the Magic Jacket, 2012) tells a tale about a baby-food container who dreams of being recycled as a medicine bottle.
As the story opens, Tika, a glass jar, or “Glassie,” full of carrots, jumps up and down on the grocery shelf, hoping to be chosen by a grocery-store customer. Soon, a mother tells her young son, “These healthy carrots will make you big and strong!” On the ride home, Tika is already dreaming about being recycled; she hopes to become a medicine bottle to help sick people feel better. Later, an empty Tika leaps into the recycling container with glee. There, she meets Coby, a glass ketchup bottle who wishes he could be recycled into a plastic bottle, because he sometimes feels bulky and heavy. Tika encourages him to adopt a more positive self-image, pointing out that he made kids happy by making their hamburgers and fries taste better. Later, inside Captain Rick, the recycling dumpster, the bottles make their way to the recycling center, whose entrance resembles the pearly gates. Captain Rick philosophizes, “Your next adventure has everything to do with your attitude. Glassies with a positive attitude are happy, and often attract good things.” Tika gets her wish, and happily goes off to become a medicine bottle. Some readers may embrace the text’s emotional pitch for recycling. The book also offers youngsters a message about self-worth, as when Tika explains that she always tries to see the beauty “in myself and what I have to offer.” However, even very young children will know that big changes often involve a bit more apprehension, as well as excitement. The book’s illustrations by Graham are cheerful and cartoonlike, and depict Tika with an open smile; when Tika bats her long-lashed baby-blues at shoppers, the other baby-food jars don’t stand a chance.
An earnest children’s story about recycling and self-esteem.