Friday, May 06, 2011

Mr. Greenjeans: Arthur Turns Green by Marc Brown

Arthur was late for dinner.

"You owe me big time," said D.W. "I had to set the table, and that's your job!"

"Sorry," said Arthur. "I had to deal with the Big Green Machine at school."

Then D.W. saw Arthur's green hands.

"That machine is turning Arthur GREEN!" she thought.

Arthur is acting funny again. He goes around the house scribbling down notes and unplugging cellphone chargers and D.W.'s absolutely essential night lights and mumbling about a Big Green Machine. Then he comes home with green hands! And then Dad's hands and knees turn green, too!

Neither one of them seems concerned about their change in skin color. And then D.W. learns that she has to go to Arthur's school open house where this Big Green Machine is kept. Is it going to get her and turn her green, too?

Of course, in Mark Brown's first new Arthur Adventure in ten years, Arthur Turns Green (Arthur Adventure Series) (Little, Brown, 2011), going green is a good thing--the object of Mr. Ratburn's new mega-project for his long-suffering third grade class. Buster offers to solve the garbage problem by eating more food so it won't become landfill; Muffy's idea of recycling is selling her used clothes so she can buy more, Binky resolves to collect cast-off aluminum soft drink cans for recycling, and Arthur takes on his own family's use of energy. He turns off appliances right and left and takes the shortest showers ever while he compiles a list to make his family the greenest in town. Dad pitches in to help paint and prepare the project, and they both emerge green in more ways than one from their close encounter with the garden plants and the poster paint, and pre-schooler D.W. is afraid that she's next if she gets anywhere near that scary Big Green Machine.

It's a nostalgic welcome back to Arthur, who's spent the last ten years on hiatus from publishing while he became a television star and staple on the much lauded PBS Kids line-up. The Arthur stories have remained popular, and it's good to have the evergreen Arthur back in book form, especially in this green time of year.

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