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Summary: In this story about conservation and protecting the earth's resources, Aunt Gussie and her friends show us how to do our part to preserve nature and the environment. This is a story about preserving nature in an ever changing environment.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, anytime reading, read aloud book, middle grade reader book
Recommended Age: read together: 6 to 9; read yourself: 10 to 12
Young Reader Reaction: This is written with a simple, abstract, and compassionate style. Children, teens, and adults will find this a heartwarming read, and walk away with a sense of responsibility for our own trees and environment. The narrative, although somewhat simple and traditional, is written in an engaging and creative way—slightly mysterious, yet charming at other times. Another major element of the story that contributes to its central theme is the wispy, abstract, and original background painting. They have varying colors and textures and work well to sculpt the mood of each part of the story. The book in general combines spiritual and modern elements together to create a story that is enjoyable and purposeful at the same time.
Adult Reader Reaction: The story itself is a variation on the theme that “the environment is on life support.” What makes this book effective is that it doesn’t attack progress, rather it demonstrates how concerned citizens can use their ability and talent to reduce the negative impact that progress has on communities. The graphics in this volume are extraordinary and complement the narrative.
Pros: This picture book offers a nice variation among books that talk about protecting planet earth. The story line is imaginative, the challenges are believable, and the theme, though innately serious, is upbeat.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow, at least. Whether you want to share it with an individual child or use it in your classroom, it is well worth your reading time.
Educational Themes: This is an excellent resource for introducing children to the study of nature and environment. The narrative describes a small Minnesota community as it was before the white man discovered and settled it. The narrative explains the impact that environmental changes have made to the area. The lesson is that citizens have to become actively involved in protecting the environment of their communities and the narrative describes how the community accomplished that goal.
Literary Categories: Fiction - nature, sociology
Date(s) Reviewed: March 2008
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