Here Comes the Garbage Barge!

Here Comes the Garbage Barge! by Jonah Winter, illustrated by Red Nose Studio

This is the true story of what happened in 1987 when the town of Islip had 3,168 tons of garbage that they had no room for.  So it was placed on a barge to be taken to North Carolina.  Captain Duffy St. Pierre used his small tugboat to pull the barge down to North Carolina, but it wasn’t that simple.  North Carolina refused to take the garbage!  Captain Duffy was then sent to New Orleans.  Nope, they didn’t want it either.  Mexico?  No.  Belize?  No.  Texas?  No.  Florida? No.  The garbage was getting older, smellier and more horrid by the day.  Finally Brooklyn agreed to take the garbage and incinerate it.  It was 162 days after the barge first set out. 

This book could have been a dry look at recycling, garbage and waste, but it definitely is not.  Instead Winter and Red Nose Studio have created a book filled with humor and character that tells the garbage story with more style than the facts could have offered.  Winter’s writing is ideal for reading aloud.  There are plenty of accents, lots of exclamations that fill the book with energy and fun.  Red Nose Studio’s art is three-dimensional, witty and filled with found objects.  His art is humorous, detailed and a delight to look at.  It is a testament to Winters’ writing that it is a great match to this art. 

A perfect book for Earth Day or any eco-friendly event, this book will get children thinking about how many pounds of garbage they create and exactly what happens to it.  Even if it’s not headed for a garbage barge.  Appropriate for ages 5-8.

Check out the video below of the making of the art for the book:

Reviewed from copy received from Random House.

A Small Brown Dog with a Wet Pink Nose

A Small Brown Dog with a Wet Pink Nose by Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen, illustrated by Linzie Hunter

Amelia wants a dog, specifically a small brown dog with a wet pink nose.  But her parents don’t think they are ready for a dog.  At first, Amelia tries begging every day.  When that doesn’t work, she begins to ask different questions.  What could the dog’s name be?  Where would he live?  If he got lost would they look for him? Could Amelia walk and feed him herself?  A few days later, Amelia imagines that she has a dog like the one she dreams of.  She makes sure he can’t escape out the door, plays with him every day, and is warmed by him at night.  That is until the morning she wakes up and he is missing.  Now her parents had assured her that if they did have a dog, they would search for him if he got lost.  So off they go.  Will they find him?

Amelia’s actions in the book could be seen as manipulative, except she shows real emotion when she is imagining her dog and when he is lost.  I read it as a strong wish turned into a pretend dog that becomes real to her.  Stuve-Bodeen’s writing is simple and offers repetitive elements that will work well for sharing aloud.  Hunter’s art is filled with details that make this a book best shared one-on-one or with a small group.  Done digitally, it exudes a warmth and friendliness throughout. 

A crash course in advertising and PR, and imagination, this book is sure to be a hit with children who think they need a dog in their house too. Appropriate for ages 4-6.

Reviewed from library copy.

Also reviewed by A Year of Reading and What’s Carol Reading?