Another rich resource for young eco-warriors.

THIS BOOK IS NOT GARBAGE

50 WAYS TO DITCH PLASTIC, REDUCE TRASH, AND SAVE THE WORLD!

Practical actions for reducing waste for young readers concerned about the environment.

Science writer Thomas offers 50 doable suggestions for readers keen to reduce their “eco-impact.” The book was originally published in the U.K. in 2018 as This Book Is Not Rubbish, and language, examples, and statistics have been changed for a U.S. readership in most cases. But the title change is misleading. Only a portion of this book is about garbage in the usual sense of kitchen waste; the writer defines waste broadly. Her “eco-tips” include using less water, especially hot water; changing gift and party habits; avoiding glitter and plastic straws; composting and reducing food waste; picking up litter; trading clothing and goods; reducing energy use in myriad ways; repairing and reusing what we have; and avoiding unnecessary use of paper—even greeting cards and school assignments! Even more broadly, she suggests helping the nearby environment, thinking about the environmental costs of food and clothing, and reducing video gaming (evidently an energy hog). One chapter introduces five young eco-warriors; another suggests projects for aspiring citizen scientists. Art projects and even geocaching are other ways to get closer to nature and to show appreciation. Though there is some overlap, most suggestions are different from or complementary to those in companion title This Book Will (Help) Cool the Climate, published in 2020 in the U.K. but simultaneously with this title in this country. Both are useful.

Another rich resource for young eco-warriors. (index) (Nonfiction. 9-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-30867-7

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

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Contentwise, an arbitrary assortment…but sure to draw fans of comics, of science, or of both.

FLASH FACTS

Flash, Batman, and other characters from the DC Comics universe tackle supervillains and STEM-related topics and sometimes, both.

Credited to 20 writers and illustrators in various combinations, the 10 episodes invite readers to tag along as Mera and Aquaman visit oceanic zones from epipelagic to hadalpelagic; Supergirl helps a young scholar pick a science-project topic by taking her on a tour of the solar system; and Swamp Thing lends Poison Ivy a hand to describe how DNA works (later joining Swamp Kid to scuttle a climate-altering scheme by Arcane). In other episodes, various costumed creations explain the ins and outs of diverse large- and small-scale phenomena, including electricity, atomic structure, forensic techniques, 3-D printing, and the lactate threshold. Presumably on the supposition that the characters will be more familiar to readers than the science, the minilectures tend to start from simple basics, but the figures are mostly both redrawn to look more childlike than in the comics and identified only in passing. Drawing styles and page designs differ from chapter to chapter but not enough to interrupt overall visual unity and flow—and the cast is sufficiently diverse to include roles for superheroes (and villains) of color like Cyborg, Kid Flash, and the Latina Green Lantern, Jessica Cruz. Appended lists of websites and science-based YouTube channels, plus instructions for homespun activities related to each episode, point inspired STEM-winders toward further discoveries.

Contentwise, an arbitrary assortment…but sure to draw fans of comics, of science, or of both. (Graphic nonfiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-77950-382-4

Page Count: 160

Publisher: DC

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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Like oil itself, this is a book that needs to be handled with special care.

OIL

In 1977, the oil carrier Exxon Valdez spilled 11 million gallons of oil into a formerly pristine Alaskan ocean inlet, killing millions of birds, animals, and fish. Despite a cleanup, crude oil is still there.

The Winters foretold the destructive powers of the atomic bomb allusively in The Secret Project (2017), leaving the actuality to the backmatter. They make no such accommodations to young audiences in this disturbing book. From the dark front cover, on which oily blobs conceal a seabird, to the rescuer’s sad face on the back, the mother-son team emphasizes the disaster. A relatively easy-to-read and poetically heightened text introduces the situation. Oil is pumped from the Earth “all day long, all night long, / day after day, year after year” in “what had been unspoiled land, home to Native people // and thousands of caribou.” The scale of extraction is huge: There’s “a giant pipeline” leading to “enormous ships.” Then, crash. Rivers of oil gush out over three full-bleed wordless pages. Subsequent scenes show rocks, seabirds, and sea otters covered with oil. Finally, 30 years later, animals have returned to a cheerful scene. “But if you lift a rock… // oil / seeps / up.” For an adult reader, this is heartbreaking. How much more difficult might this be for an animal-loving child?

Like oil itself, this is a book that needs to be handled with special care. (author’s note, further reading) (Informational picture book. 9-12)

Pub Date: March 31, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-3077-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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