Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
In 1992, a shipwreck sends thousands of plastic bath toys adrift across the ocean; curiously, the toys do not disintegrate despite their "long and unusual journey." From this introduction, readers are launched into a close examination of plastic--how it came to be, how it's made and used, and how it has changed the world, for better and for worse. The book objectively presents the petroleum-based substance's contributions to the field of medicine and to the accessibility of manufactured goods alongside its increasingly harsh toll on the environment. "If we can't avoid plastics, then we must use them responsibly, through reuse and recycling," Kim states, briefly highlighting scientific advances and systemic waste-reduction efforts around the world (and stating that "recycling alone cannot solve our plastic problem"). Lee's boldly colored digital illustrations attractively and neatly chart out complex phenomena such as microplastics consumption. Ages 6--10. (Apr.)
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Review by School Library Journal Review
K-Gr 4--This book aims to make the topic of plastics accessible to a younger crowd. Beginning with a brief account of a wayward shipment of bath toys spilling into the Pacific Ocean and making their way across the globe, Kim uses a narrative nonfiction style. The text covers the history of plastic use, the ways plastics actually help the environment and humanity, their immediate negative impact, and ways to reduce plastic pollution. There isn't a clear exploration of the future consequences of unchecked plastic use or an explanation of why change is necessary. The illustrations are bright and playful. Full-page art further enhances the story, while smaller frames or diagrams help describe how plastic is created, how toxic pollutants fill the air, and how to achieve recycling and reusing. Citations, a glossary, and other supplementary back matter are missing, but a list of ideas on how to use plastic more responsibly and a publisher-sponsored website that includes a teaching guide and online resources are available on the last page. VERDICT An eye-catching addition to nonfiction collections serving elementary students, especially suited for beginning conversations on environmentalism. Also could be used to complement classroom curriculum.--Brittany Drehobl, Morton Grove Public Library, IL
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Review by Kirkus Book Review
This Korean import explores a prevalent material in our daily lives.Author Kim and illustrator Lee offer scenes to help kids digest the complex story of plastics. Plentiful illustrations describe production flows or act as seek-and-find challenges with examples of plastic objects around the home. For younger or emergent readers, many objects in the home scene are labeled to help build vocabulary or reinforce sight words. While the text explores some of the reasons plastic has become so enmeshed in our world, it does not fully confront the power of multinational oil companies or the international components of plastics recycling that evolve with each news cycle. However, refreshingly, plastics recycling is not presented as a catchall solution for single-use plastics. Readers are encouraged to reduce single-use plastic consumption, to learn about innovative solutions from scientists and activists, and to acknowledge that eliminating plastics use is unlikely. Illustrations of people throughout show varied skin tones consistent with the bold style used by the illustrator. The narrative format of the text, with three to five short paragraphs per page, and absence of table of contents, index, or cited backmatter make this more of a jumping-off point than a reference text. Open-ended questions throughout create natural breaks for discussion.This valiant attempt to storify and simplify a complex topic for elementary-aged children mostly succeeds. (Informational picture book. 7-10) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.