S is for Save the Planet: A How-To-Be Green Alphabetby Brad Herzog, Linda Holt Ayriss (Illustrator)
Did you know Americans generate nearly 250 million tons of trash each year? Or that it takes hundreds of years for a polystyrene cup to decompose? Mankind's negative impact on Mother Earth is tremendous and daily bad news can make it feel overwhelming. But all is not lost! S is for Save the Planet: A How-to-Be-Green Alphabet details the many environmental issues we face and then suggests easy-to-take actions that anyone can do. From the particulars of vermicomposting and xeriscaping, to the three R's of responsible waste management, young readers learn how they can be a force of nature in protecting the earth for generations to come.Brad Herzog spends two months every summer traveling across the country with his wife and two young sons and celebrating America's natural wonders. Together, they have visited more than 30 national parks and seashores. This is Brad's eighth alphabet book for Sleeping Bear Press. He lives on California's Monterey Peninsula. Linda Holt Ayriss is the recipient of a silver medal from the Best in the West Society of Illustrators, and has been recognized in the Communication Arts Annual. She is also the author of Sleeping Bear's E is for Evergreen: A Washington Alphabet. Linda lives in Washington State.
For each letter, an eight-line poem introduces a tip for protecting the environment. Lengthy sidebars accompany each verse and provide more detailed information. The book is illustrated with acceptable watercolor paintings. The sidebars are well written, but the poetry is sometimes awkward and occasionally feels forced. The content presents useful advice, though many of the suggestions are aimed at things adults can do, such as composting and improving the insulation in their home, and forgoing items made of ivory or animal skins. However, important information has occasionally been left out. For example, the entry for the letter "B" discusses the uses of compact fluorescent lights. Although the text cautions about handling broken bulbs due to mercury content, it doesn't explain that these bulbs need to be properly recycled. Overall, though, this is an interesting starting point for a class researching a wide range of environmental topics.-Lindsay Cesari, Baldwinsville School District, NY
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