Rating: 1-5: (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4.5
What did you like about the book? This informational text uses clear explanations and easily understood infographics to introduce young people to the idea of a water footprint by showing how much potable water is required to produce food and other products. In addition to infographics that display the finite amount of drinking water in the world, the majority of the book displays a variety of items and indicates the relative cost in terms of water used to produce each item. It may surprise readers to learn that to produce 2 pounds of beef requires 4,068 gallons of water while 2 pounds of chicken takes a substantially smaller 1,136 gallons. If readers want to compare apples (33 gallons) to oranges (21 gallons) – they can! And they might want to rethink watermelon (264 gallons)! Useful tips for conserving water appear at the end followed by a bibliography, glossary, and index.
Anything you didn’t like about it? Given that the goal is to show the relative water costs of items, it was surprising that the units of water in the infographics were not standardized. Both eighteen liter water coolers and one liter bottles were used, and for a few water-intensive items (blue jeans, handheld electronics) 250 liter drums were used.
To whom would you recommend this book? Recommend to patrons from grade 4 – 7 and to their teachers to communicate how the products we choose impact the amount of clean water available in the world.
Readalikes: Hungry Planet: What the World Eats by Peter Menzel
Who should buy this book? Elementary school libraries, middle school libraries and public libraries.
Where would you shelve it? Shelve in 333.91 with other books about water conservation.
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Not necessary unless the topic interests you.
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Mary Melaugh, Marshall Middle School Library, Billerica, MA
Date of review: 2/21/17