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The Environment

Let’s Save the Animals
by Frances Barry
(Walker Books)
This novelty book has a strong environmental message and uses the ‘flip-the-flap’ format to great effect. Featuring ten of the world’s animals whose species are endangered, the author/artist devotes a double page spread and half page flap to each one. Those included range from the African elephant to the Monarch butterfly (American variety); and mountains, oceans, grasslands, forests and meadows are all threatened habitats in various parts of the world. Every part of this book is made use of: the final black and white spread serves as a stark reminder that the ten selected are only a minute fraction of the thousands of endangered species. The end papers too are used to inform – the front ones visually locate the featured fauna in their continent and give a fascinating fact about each; the back ones are devoted to ten ‘simple actions’ the reader can do to ‘help protect and save these animals’. Simple yes perhaps but the message is far from that and the book with its straightforward text and cleverly crafted paper collage illustrations could be an excellent starting point for a discussion on this vital topic.
(reviewed by Jill Bennett)
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The Trouble with Dragons
by Debi Gliori
Children are never to young to start thinking about the all important message,
     Respect all Earth’s creatures
     and cherish the land,
     recycle, reuse and reduce
     your demands.

contained in this topical and timely rhyming tale about the consequences of thoughtless consumption, dragon style. These dragons gobble, guzzle, throw wild parties, leave masses of mess, destroy forests, melt the ice caps homeless and more until there’s little left of wildlife as they knew it. Fortunately however, the fiery creatures do see the errors of their profligate ways just in time and start to heed the threatened animals’ advice.
Everything about this picture book including the production, (vegetable dyes, on FSC certified paper) is about environmental awareness, and Debi Gliori’s clever combination of colour and stark silhouettes heightens the impact of her verbal message.
(reviewed by Jill Bennett)
Buy from Amazon

Just One Peaceful Pond
Just One Quiet Pine Tree
by Chris Butterworth, illustrated by Mique Moriuchi
(Walker Books)
These unusual books are diamond shaped with the spine forming a hinge at one corner. You read the book with that corner furthest away from you and open the pages from bottom to top. Each spread unfolds as you open it to form a picture four times the size of the cover. The succession of pictures helps the reader explore the specific habitat and discover the many different plants and animals that live there. Just One Peaceful Pond starts in the air above the pond and works its way down to the surface and then under the water to the bottom. Just One Quiet Pine Tree starts at the top of the tree and works its way down to the roots.
   This innovative approach provides an excellent introduction to the idea of habitats and could be useful in school. (KS1, early KS2 and older special needs). However, although the pages are made of sturdy card, it's so easy to misfold them as you close the book that it's probably better to use them under adult supervision rather than put them out on the library shelves.
Buy Just One Peaceful Pond from Amazon   
Buy Just One Quiet Pine Tree from Amazon

Theo and the Giant Plastic Ball
by Carole Douglis
(United Nations Environment Programme)
Theo hasn't got enough money for a football so he decides to make one by collecting discarded plastic bags and rolling them together. When the animals see what he is doing, they help him find more and more bags in different places. Soon his ball is much bigger than a football. As it grows and grows, more people join him in his task. Eventually all the plastic bags are picked up and rolled into one gigantic ball and Theo is given a real football to thank him for his work.
Set in South America, this story reads well and really brings home the environmental damage done by plastic bags. I'm definitely trying to use fewer of them since I read it and I suspect children will too.
Buy from Earthprint (priced in dollars but you can buy in sterling)

Tessa and the Fishy Mystery
by Carole Douglis
Tessa loves playing with her sea friends and exploring castles of coral. But one day, she can't find her friends any more and she discovers that they've moved away to another beach where there's no pollution. When she tells her family and neighbours, everyone decides to clean up their environment. They plant trees, grow food without chemicals and start to use fishing nets with larger holes so the young fish can escape. Eventually Tessa's sea friends return and promise never to leave again as long as the sea stays clean.
Set in the tropics, this book includes a fact page at the end and tips on what children can do to help,
Buy from Earthprint (priced in dollars but you can buy in sterling)


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