Books inspire green living

Bonnie
Bonnie Belec
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It's funny, when I told my co-reviewers to go grab a couple of books for us to review this week, they both came running back with books about the environment.

I think I've said before that children are never too young to begin learning how to recycle and respect the place they live by not littering as well as to not be wasteful.

It's funny, when I told my co-reviewers to go grab a couple of books for us to review this week, they both came running back with books about the environment.

I think I've said before that children are never too young to begin learning how to recycle and respect the place they live by not littering as well as to not be wasteful.

Very basic principles that can have a lasting effect in the long run.

We always have about a dozen books in our review pile at any given time. Lindsay picked "Sandy's Incredible Shrinking Footprint," by Femida Handy and Carole Carpenter, illustrated by Adrianna Steele-Card.

Liam picked "The Magic Schoolbus and the Climate Challenge," by Joanna Cole and Bruce Degen.

"Sandy's Incredible Shrinking Footprint" depicts Sandy standing on top of the world holding a full recycling blue bin, accompanied by her four-legged pal, Pepper. The cute little pooch looks like a recycled, reused stuffed dog whose colours resemble a chocolate chip cookie.

I think the cover is what attracted Lindsay to the book. The unique illustrations, as noted in the book, are collages that combine natural and recycled materials.

Sandy and Pepper live in the city, but love to hang out at the beach near her Grandpa's house.

When she visits, he teaches her about the sea and all the animals that live in it, as well as the creatures that inhabit the beach.

One day, during a visit to Grandpa's, Sandy was on the beach but she couldn't find Pepper.

She finally heard him barking and walked in his direction, nearly falling over a pile of trash and burnt wood.

"What do we always do after a picnic?" I asked the children. Lindsay and Liam, I'm proud to say, both replied, "We put our mess in a bag."

Sandy was disgusted with the garbage she found on her beach, so she began to clean it up by herself. As she was picking up pop cans and wrappers, she sensed a black shadow looming behind her. She thought it must be the garbage monster she had heard of lurking the beach.

As the story goes, it was an old woman who roamed the coastline looking for junk to add to her collection. But she wasn't a monster. She has as much love and respect for the beach as Sandy.

The garbage woman helps Sandy clean up the litter and leaves a lasting impression on the little girl.

She talks to Sandy about leaving her mark on the world.

"The footprint of your life is the mark you leave on the world," she said.

She explains the size of one's footprint depends on a number of choices one makes, with the end result leaving the smallest footprint possible.

Sandy became bent on shrinking her footprint and enlisted the help of her mother and Grandpa to ensure it. The book ends with a list of 12 ways this can be accomplished.

"The Magic Schoolbus" is also a television show about a teacher, Mrs. Frizzle, and her class who embark on out-of-this-world adventures.

In the colourful book, the children are learning about global warming. They jump on the bus and head for the Arctic Sea where they learn about melting ice and the differences between years ago and now.

The bus turns into a plane (and other things on different occasions) and flies over various parts of the world where they see the effects of global warming - mud in places where the soil should be frozen, people leaving their island homes because water levels are too high, hurricanes, tornadoes and forest fires.

The Friz, as she is referred to in the book, explains the concept of greenhouse gases and how too much can be a bad thing.

They learn about alternative energy such as generators, windmills and solar energy.

After their journey, the children come to the realization that what causes climate change the most is people, and they each devise ways to help prevent global warming.

Friz's mantra is, "Conserve, conserve, conserve. Recycle, recycle, recycle."

The children in the book, like Sandy, learn about what they can do to make a difference. They soon see that, one by one, step by step, they can effect change.

Both books are educational, colourful and fun.

Sandy's Incredible Shrinking Footprint

By Femida Handy and Carole Carpenter

Second Story Press

24 pages; $15.95

The Magic Schoolbus and the Climate Challenge

By Joanna Cole and Bruce Degen

Scholastic Press

40 pages; $21.99

Bonnie Belec is a Telegram desk editor and the mother of four-year-old twins Lindsay and Liam. She can be reached at bbelec@thetelegram.com

Geographic location: Arctic Sea

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