Saturday, August 01, 2009

Green Giant! Michael Recycle by Ellie Bethel

There once was a town
Called Abber doo Rimey,
Where garbage was left
To grow rotten and slimy.

It never smelled fresh.
The air was all hazy.
But the people did nothing.
They got rather lazy.
What this strangely-named town needs is a caped crusader, right? A cool superhero who can make people get off their duffs and pick up their junk . And that's the job description for Ellie Bethel's unmasked marvel in her book Michael Recycle. (Worthwhile, 2008). Nobody knows where MR came from, but his appearance suddenly galvanizes the town into some serious trash moving.

Then something happened,
That no one could explain.
It wasn't a bird,
and it wasn't a plane.

A green-caped crusader,
Soared through the air,
With a colander hat
On top of his hair.

Soon the townspeople pitch in and pitch the trash where it belongs, recycling what's useful as they move along, and in no time the town is totally transformed. They even take the transformation to a higher level.

They also began
The "Be Greener Campaign."
They grew their own kumquats,
And saved up the rain.

So proud was the town
Of their green transformation,
They threw a great party,
A great celebration

And now, Bethel has given Michael Recycle what every superhero must have--a super villain, a rotten rival, a nasty nemesis--in her latest sequel Michael Recycle Meets Litterbug Doug (Worthwhile, 2009), a dastardly dumper of trash so stinky that even his pet rats run away in disgust.

It's easy to talk about recycling to kids, but things get a bit, er, sticky when it comes to motivating ourselves and them to recycle some gross sidewalk fast food cups and wrappers or a yucky soft drink can cast carelessly beside the road. (It's worth the trouble, though; I recently visited a Caribbean island nation which shall remain nameless where trash was sometimes ankle deep along major highways, an experience which made me appreciate the massive effort that keeps our interstates almost pristine!) These two books make a great springboard for parents and teachers introducing the subject of transforming littering into recycling for youngsters.

So...more power to you, Michael Recycle! It's our landscape. Let's love it! Thanks for adding "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" to "Truth, Justice, and the American Way!"



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