God’s World

Sylvia Rouss; Janet Zweb­n­er, illus.
  • Review
By – August 3, 2012
This is the first in Pitspopany’s new­ly announced Tikkun Olam series. The author, cre­ator of the pop­u­lar Sam­my Spi­der series, Reach for the Stars, and many oth­er books for chil­dren, intends here to show that humans have dam­aged the world through pol­lu­tion and envi­ron­men­tal neglect. As the moth­er nar­rat­ing the sto­ry cycles toward the coun­try with her young son, Eli, in the bike seat, they encounter smog from ear­ly morn­ing traf­fic, chim­neys spew­ing smoke, pol­lut­ed streams, and birds and squir­rels who are home­less because the trees have been cut down. She takes him to a gar­den not too sub­tly named Eden,” which, in con­trast, is lush and unspoiled. When he wants to stay there, she tells Eli that once the whole world looked this way. Then she explains the sto­ry of Cre­ation to him. Eli’s moth­er tells him some every­day things he can do to help begin to heal nature and bring it back to the state it was in when it was cre­at­ed, start­ing in his own neigh­bor­hood. These include throw­ing lit­ter in the trash, recy­cling used bot­tles and papers, etc. At the back of the book, Rouss pro­vides some oth­er ways in which chil­dren as well as adults can fix the world. God’s World could have used some edit­ing to catch mis­spellings and miss­ing punc­tu­a­tion marks. As in some oth­er Pit­spopa­ny books, the glossy illus­tra­tions are done in gar­ish­ly bright col­ors. The moth­er and son have large, exag­ger­at­ed eyes and facial fea­tures. Teach­ing young chil­dren to respect the envi­ron­ment is a good idea which los­es some of its impact because of the preachy tone of the text and the poor illus­tra­tions. For ages 5 – 8.
Andrea David­son is the librar­i­an of The Tem­ple-Tifer­eth Israel in Beach­wood, Ohio. She holds an M.L.S. from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Michi­gan and is a for­mer mem­ber of the Syd­ney Tay­lor Book Awards Com­mit­tee. She enjoys try­ing out the books she reviews on the kids at the Tem­ple and on her grandchildren.

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