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Candace Savage. Illustrated by Steve Beinicke.
Toronto, ON: Groundwood/Douglas & McIntyre, 1990.
56pp., paper, $12.95.
ISBN 0-88894-826-3. (Earth Care Books).. CIP.

Subject Headings:
Refuse and refuse disposal-Juvenile literature.
Recycling (Waste, etc.)-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3 - 8 / Ages 8 - 13

Reviewed by Bob Haxton.

Volume 19 Number 2
1991 March

This book is an attempt to rally the support of children in dealing with garbage pollution. It is well designed with problems and solutions itemized and clearly set out in alternate boxes. It is profusely illustrated with colourful cartoon-type illustrations on every page. Each problem has steps the reader can take to deal with it, plus a glossary of significant words.

Its approach is straightforward and activist: "If you don't like what you find out (having checked out with your municipal incinerator on four points to better incineration) tell your friends and start to SHOUT." It's also dire and gloomy and I couldn't help wondering about the appropriateness of lumbering children with adult problems. Getting children to remind us constantly of our social obligations may be effective, even fitting, considering it's their future we're dealing with, but considering their inexperience and dependency it strikes me as exploitation.

The publisher describes Candace Savage as a "well-known author of wildlife books ... a member of the evaluation committee for Science Culture Canada" and as "being involved in environmental causes for many years." The involvement sets the tone of this little book. The problems are set out in a concise, unequivocal way and the solutions are often political.

From my point of view it's unfortunate it wasn't aimed at a more sophisticated audience. It contains a great deal of interesting information (the problem of biodegradable plastic being mixed in with recycled plastic, for instance) provided in a very accessible format and makes the important point that along with individual recycling, political activism is also a choice worth teaching. On balance I would recommend buying it.

Bob Haxton, Vancouver, B.C.
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