Colonel Trash Truck by Kathleen Crawley, illustrated by Manuel Conde
Teaching kids about their impact on the natural world can be tricky business. As much as I'm keen to teach my three-and-a-half year old about cradle to cradle design, shifting baselines, or sustainable food systems, he just doesn't seem to get it. While there are some classic green books for kids there is a surprising dearth of contemporary stories for the 3-6 year-old set. Author Kathleen Crawley noticed this gap and created a character who "teaches kids the importance of recycling, throwing away garbage and protecting the environment." Check out this video for an introduction to Colonel Trash Truck.
The Colonel's big lesson to the kids is to keep the world clean. He urges kids to join him in picking up litter, recycling and making sure that parks and beaches remain litter-free.
Manual Conde's vibrant illustrations help push the story along and creates memorable characters. And while Crawley's rhymes don't hit the level of masters like Dr. Seuss or Julia Donaldson, once you hit the rhythm after a couple of reads the story flows well. My son's favorite page and rhyme:
The Colonel will never consider surrender
To those who would want to destroy
Our beautiful land, the dirt or the sand,
And the parks that we like to enjoy.
Crawley has plans for more in this series which will hopefully expand the definition of "green living" for young kids. While a toddler is obviously too young to understand the fickleness of recycling markets and the intricacies of waste management, introducing them to the simple idea of "keeping the world clean" will help set them up to explore deeper concepts beyond litter and recycling.
Colonel Trash Truck
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