CM Archive
CM Archive Book Review line

Jenny Nelson
Illustrated by Sarah Battersby

Willowdale (Ont.), Annick Press, 1990. 40pp, paper, $5.95
ISBN 1-55037-114-2. CIP

Grades 1 to 5/Ages 6 to 11
Reviewed by Patricia Fry.

Volume 18 Number 6
1990 November

Archibald is nine years old and already he has been a hero twice in his young life. In this book, he becomes the hero of his town when he organizes a pollution solution.

One day Archibald notices a strange, unpleasant smell in the air — a stench that engulfs the entire town of Lakeview. He follows his nose to track down the source of the smell and soon comes to the creek where the water, instead of bubbling clear over the rocks, is dark, oily and thick. Archibald follows the creek to the lake, which is beginning to look like thick green soup with the fish floating on the surface, gasping for air. He finally backtracks to the town dump, where he locates the source of the smell — a brown, sludgy slime oozing from all the garbage.

Back at the town, there is a brisk business in noseplugs, one way to combat the smell. The mayor and town councillors are busy arguing about what's to be done about the smell. Archibald goes home and calls an emergency meeting of his family and friends. Together, they battle the pollution with another amazing inven­tion: the crunch machine. This machine gobbles garbage, chews it to a powder, and uses the powder as fuel for its garbage-gobbling jaws. It takes the crunch machine about four days to clean up the dump before it disintegrates from over(h)eating, A facile solution to an enormous problem? Not really, because it's not long before Archibald notices the garbage piling up again and realizes that the people must be the solution.

Archibald calls a town meeting to point out the obvious: that no matter how far away we take our yucchy garbage, the yucch will come back to us. The townspeople of Lakeview set up a garbage school, where they learn that the only solution is to take the "yucch" out of garbage by recycling, reducing consumption, and using environment-friendly products.

Environmental studies are on the curriculum of most schools and for that reason alone, this mini-novel is sure to be chosen as a read-aloud selection. Finally, the paperback format with short chapters and black-and-white sketches will appeal to the beginning reader who wants to read beyond picture-books, but who still requires a fairly controlled vocabulary.

Patricia Fry, Port Credit, Ont.
line indexes


1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995


The materials in this archive are copyright © The Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission Copyright information for reviewers

Young Canada Works