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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Bag in the Wind, written by Ted Kooser and illustrated by Barry Root. Candlewick, Random House. 2010. $23.00 ages 6 and up

"One cold, windy morning early in spring, a bulldozer was pushing a big pile of garbage around a landfill when it uncovered an empty plastic bag. The woman driving the bulldozer didn't notice the bag and drove on. It was a bag for carrying groceries, just the color of the skin of a yellow onion, and it had two holes for handles. It was a perfectly good bag, but someone had thrown it away."

How many times did you try to write a story about 'the adventures of a ...? Would you ever have considered following the trials and tribulations of a plastic grocery bag? Not me!

Ted Kooser appears to have done just that...and admirably, I might add. We follow the bag as it fills with air and is tugged along by the wind, plastered against a chain link fence, and finally lifted high over the landfill fence to find life beyond the garbage dump. It is a most perilous and somehow satisfying journey.

It makes its way along a country road until it gets caught up in a barbed wire fence. There, it is found by a young girl who sees it has perfect use as a transporter for the cans she has been collecting. When she gets to the gas station down the road, she trades in her cans for money and moves on. The woman who traded her cash for cans also has a use for the bag. And so it goes...the bag finding life and use in a number of different places.

Listeners will enjoy this tale and learn much about recycling in its wake, quietly and with clever wit about its many stops along the way. They will be pleased with the surprise ending!

A author's note talks about the need to recycle those plastic bags that we are being encouraged to stop using. There are some startling statistics shared:

"A million birds and 100,000 sea turtles and other animals die every year due to ingesting plastic bags or getting them caught around their necks, wings, or legs."

Do we need to be reminded that 'it might take anywhere from fifteen to a thousand years for a plastic bag to decompose because plastic photodegrades, which means it breaks down when exposed to sunlight."

If you get them, use them again and again. Better yet, don't use them at all. It is a small step but worth it!

This is a book that I will share often in the coming months. It is a worthy read.

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