Saturday, April 17, 2010

Kid Konnection: Earth Day

Every Saturday, I host a feature called Kid Konnection -- a (hopefully) regular weekend feature about anything related to children's books. Today, I are going to share with you some very cute picture books that are perfect to share with your children this Earth Day!

Summary: The marvelous Roxie Munro is back with more a-MAZE-ing adventures! This time she’s taking kids on an exciting (and informative) journey through 12 incredible ecosystems, from lush evergreen forests to colorful coral reefs, from the frozen tundra to hot desert sands. And to make things even more fun—and challenging—every bright and bold maze features hidden animals that belong in that environment, including wolves, stingrays, parrots, crocodiles, and a whole colony of seals! The ecosystems include:Tropical Rainforest - Desert - Arctic Polar - Grasslands - Savanna - Wetlands - Coral Reef - Tundra - and a human habitat: a campground! -- Sterling

ECOMAZES: 12 EARTH ADVENTURES by Roxie Munro is an amazing book that kids are guaranteed to love -- I know Booking Son did. The basic idea behind this fun picture book is that on each page, there is a different maze for the children to find their way through.

The book is divided into twelve different ecosystemss including forests, coral reefs, deserts, and the tundra. There is an illustration of each environment with a maze that takes the reader through the terrain. In addition, the author lists various animals that children can search for while completing the mazes. So while they are searching, they are also discovering what animals exist in the environments!

These books are bound to appeal to kids, even ones who aren't big readers, because they are so fun. As a mom, I love that the book is interactive as well as educational; and I don't even think kids will realize how much they are learning while "playing" with it. The press release says that the book is geared to ages seven and up, but I really think kids as young as four will enjoy looking through this book and finding the animals.

I also really liked the last few pages of this book. Not only does the author include an answer key to each maze, but she also includes a key to where all of the animals are hidden. In addition, there are educational summaries of each of the ecosystems along with fun facts. I especially liked reading her letter to the reader where she gave some specifics on how she researched the various environments.

Highly recommended!

Summary: Litterbug Doug is lazy. He’s wasteful. He’s messy. But worst of all, he hates recycling! The clean and green town where he lives is in danger from his lazy ways, not to mention suffering from the stench released by the mountains of garbage that Doug leaves wherever he goes! So strong is its stink that even the army of rats that follow Doug around are rethinking their friendship with him. It’s up to Michael Recycle, planet Earth’s green-caped crusader, to show dastardly Doug the error of his ways . . . before it’s too late. Will Litterbug Doug and the rats learn to waste less and recycle more—or will their trash take over the world? Join Michael Recycle in another adventure to save the planet in this hilarious sequel to Michael Recycle.

Here's an excerpt from this sure to be hit with readers of all ages!

And who was the culprit? Who was the thug?

It was lonely and lazy-boned…

Litterbug Doug!

His house was a rubbish dump. full of old stuff, that was rotting and mouldy

and smelly enough to make your eyes water (the pong was so strong)

but Doug didn't think he'd done anything wrong! -- Worthwhile Books

MICHAEL RECYCLE MEETS LITTERBUG DOUG by Ellie Bethel and illustrated by Alexandra Colombo tells the story of a cute little town that is getting taken over by garbage, and Litterbug Doug is the culprit! He lives all alone surrounded by disgusting garbage and his only friends are the rats who there. Michael, the "green" (and I don't mean the color) superhero enters the picture and teaches Doug about the importance of recycling. The entire town pulls together to help Doug clean up his house, and he ends up making some new friends as well.

I thought the message in this book was terrific (who can argue with books that teach kids about being green?), but I also really liked the bright and funny illustrations. All of the pages were filled with eye-catching drawings that definitely matched the silly rhyming text. My son spend quite awhile just looking at the pages rather than turning them as soon as I finished reading (and that says something.)

Another terrific feature of this book was that it was actually educational. The last few pages of the book were filled with information that even the older kids (and parents) will appreciate. There is Litterbug Doug's Trash Roundup which gives statistics on the trash situation in the U.S. (and it's not a pretty picture.) There is also Michael Recycle's Go Green Tips which include lots of little things that we all can do to start helping the environment.

I recommend MICHAEL RECYCLE MEETS LITTERBUG DOUG as a fun book that will also help educate children about trash and recycling. Kids are sure love enjoy the colorful pictures as well as the superhero character.

Summary: We planted a tree and it grew up,

While it reached for the sky and the sun. . . .

In this simple poem illustrated by award winner Bob Staake, two young families in two very different parts of the world plant a tree. As the trees flourish, so do the families . . . while trees all over the world help clean the air, enrich the soil, and give fruit and shade.

With a nod to Kenya’s successful Green Belt Movement, Diane Muldrow’s elegant text celebrates the life and hope that every tree—from Paris to Brooklyn to Tokyo—brings to our planet. Perfect for young readers! -- Golden Books

WE PLANTED A TREE by Diane Muldrow and illustrated by Bob Staake is a very special book which gives children insight into their world and their environment. I really enjoyed this book (probably a little more than Booking Son) because I loved the overall message of hope that resonated throughout the pages. Plus, it has gorgeous illustrations.

The book goes back and forth between two families in very different parts of the world -- Brooklyn and Africa. Both families plant a tree and watch it grow. WE PLANTED A TREE shows all of the benefits that trees provide to us including beauty, shade, cleaning the air, food, improving the soil, and making the world better. The book does a marvelous job of showing just how important something as simple as one small tree is.

I think teachers will love using this book in their classrooms. There isn't a lot of text, but the book does convey a powerful message about our environment and hope for the world. I definitely recommend this book -- it's beautiful with an even more beautiful message!

Summary: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle! Teaching environmental awareness has become a national priority, and this hilarious book (subtly) drives home the message that we can’t produce unlimited trash without consequences. Based on incredible true events, Jonah Winter brings us the flavorful story that starts in a little town on Long Island that has a big problem: 3,168 tons of garbage and nowhere to put it! Enter the garbage barge, who hauls the junk down the coast of North America looking for a place to dump it. . . .

Humorous language and amazing art built out of junk, toys, and found objects by Red Nose Studio make this the perfect book for Earth Day or any day. Photos of the work-in-progress on the back side of the jacket offers added appeal. -- Schwartz and Wade

Booking Son and I both loved HERE COMES THE GARBAGE BARGE! by Jonah Winter and illustrated by Red Nose Studio. It is based on the strange, but true, story of a garbage barge that carried nearly thirty-two hundred tons of garbage. No place wanted to take the garbage, and the garbage barge traveled for six months (and six thousand miles) trying to find a place to dump it.

As I was reading this book to my son, I totally remembered the real-life story of the garbage barge that was just floating up and down the East Coast for months on end. It was 1987 (when I was 18 years old) so I wasn't truly turned into current events, but I do remember the jokes on the late night shows. What an amazing story! My son could hardly believe it.

This story is kind of funny on its own, but the author certainly did his best to incorporate even more silliness into the book. The characters are a little strange and they definitely say some odd things, but I thought they were hilarious.

Granted the author did pick an interesting story, but I thought the best part of this book was definitely the illustrations. They are fantastic! The art is actually made from junk, toys, and other found objects which is then photographed. Each page has lots to look at and is very interesting. I also appreciated that the illustrator included photographs of how he actually created the artwork on the inside of the book jacket. I admit that I found this almost as interesting as the book!

Despite all of the book's fun, there is a wonderful message between the pages. The book does stress the importance of the popular saying: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle! I think the fun way in which the material is presented is a great way to get this message across to our young children.

Thanks to the publishers for sending me review copies of these books.

If you'd like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children's books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, please leave a comment as well as a link below with your name/blog name and the title of the book! Feel free to grab the little button too!


Sandy Nawrot said...

I love your theme here! This is such a great way to teach our kids to be green, and in a fun way! My kids' school is really active in the green movement. Often my kids are lecturing ME about my carbon footprint.

Beth F said...

Nice post -- I have a YA book review coming up for Earth Day. I'm glad to see there are a lot of good books out there to help make kids aware.

bermudaonion said...

What a great collection of books! I love the cover of We Planted a Tree!

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I've been surprised and happy to see so many "green" books this year! You've shown a great sample, too!

shelburns said...

What a great feature! I have We Planted a Tree to review...nice to see your thoughts.

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks said...

We love HERE COMES THE GARBAGE BARGE! What a story (and I remember when this was in the news); yes, the illustrations are fabulous.

I like the sound of WE PLANTED A TREE, too; will have to look for this one for my family.

I'm linking to two reviews this week - a wonderful picture book set in WWII about a girl who plants a Victory Garden (more to it than that, of cours!), and a fun collection of silly animal poems.