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Teri Defler and Pollution Probe; poetry by Dennis Lee

Toronto, McClelland & Stewart, 1990. 120pp, paper, $12.95
ISBN 0-7710-7157-4. CIP

Grades 3 to 9/Ages 8 to 14
Reviewed by Jennifer Johnson.

Volume 19 Number 2
1991 March

Using the British Young Green Consumer Guide as a model, author Teri Degler and two staff researchers for Pollution Probe have written The Canadian Junior Green Guide. Subtitled How You Can Help Save the World, the guide is divided into two sections, "The Outdoors" and "Home and School." Part one describes large-scale issues such as acid rain, the deterioration of the ozone layer, and the greenhouse effect. Part two brings environmental concerns into the narrower sphere of day-to-day life with information on saving energy, food issues and leisure activities.

Both sections are characterized by a realistic but not depressing view of the environment. Readers for whom the book is targeted, from ages eight to fourteen, will find "bad news" balanced on the same page with "good news" as well as a selection of "success stories" highlighted in ornate boxes. The presentation throughout is bright and colourful with appealing graphics and multitudes of small boxes in which information is listed in concise, readable units.

A feature of the book is its organiza­tion into four categories within the general text. The authors create the Green Team made up of the Green Scientist, the Green Detective, the Green Crusader and the Green Shopper. Each category appears throughout the book with consistent graphics and colour code, providing a variety of activities to pursue. The Green Scientist can, for example, experiment on a garbage garden by planting a collection of items and then, after watering and waiting for four weeks, dig it all up to see what breaks down and what does not. The Green Detective can monitor garbage production and water consumption in the home. The Green Crusader can take action in a number of ways from adopting a whale to organizing a school-wide "Waste Watch." The Green Shopper can learn to change buying habits, both for home and for personal use.

The Canadian Junior Green Guide provides a wide spectrum of ideas within each of the categories. Some of them are ambitious, but readers can choose from actions as easy as turning off unnecessary lights if the larger campaigns appear too intimidating. The authors take a realistic and topical approach to an age group beginning to use personal hygiene products, with a world of electronic leisure and its own buying power for snacks and perhaps some meals. An index, lists of environ­mental groups and a bibliography expand the usefulness of the book. The Canadian Junior Green Guide is a success­ful book which speaks to the concerns of its targeted group in a positive and eclectic way.

Jennifer Johnson, Ottawa, Ont.
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