By Sabbithry Persad, Ecoadventures, $8.95, 32 pages
At first glance, this book is reminiscent of the Magic School Bus series. Where Do Recyclable Materials Go? is definitely focused on providing educational information about recycling to elementary school-age children. Before using it as part of your child’s or classroom’s education, it would be beneficial to first read the back cover, then the “Note to Parents, Teachers and Librarians” and about the Materials Recycling Loop and Waste Management Hierarchy. If you miss that back cover, you do not know the name of the main character, Tiana, until about 10 pages in. The “For Reflection” questions drift from the objectives as listed on the back cover.
This book is difficult to read entirely as just a story. There is a story throughout, but if you focus on the details scattered amongst the pages, you lose the story and vice versa. The illustrations are nicely done, but some of the pages become busy and cluttered with all the text. This book would be best discussed in a group environment, as it has a lot of terminology that may be new to children. The humor quotient could be improved upon to make it more fun for kids to listen to. Also, the storyline about the lost dog detracts from the message about recyclable materials. Some children may focus more on looking for the lost dog than trying to understand the sorting process at the Materials Recycling Facility.
This book is not good for beginning or struggling readers. More value could be found using it in a classroom with question and answer sessions to help keep the focus on topic. There is an entire Garbology Kids series; perhaps familiarity with the series would reduce the potential for confusion.
Reviewed by Janet Wright