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.