I’m Trying to Love Garbage by Bethany Barton

I’m Trying to Love Garbage by Bethany Barton.  Viking, 2021.  9780593207031

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review):  5

Format: Hardcover picture book 

What did you like about the book?  This is a fun and funny book about garbage, the food web, and decomposition.  Despite the serious and scientific topic, it’s a great read-aloud.  The narrator is a well- voiced character who will make kids laugh.  

Barton has managed to take a complex subject and present it succinctly without talking down to the readers.  I especially liked her use of precise language, such as producers, consumers, predators, scavengers, detritivores, and decomposers.  She touches on natural decomposition, how long some items last in the landfill, and even a little about archeology!  There’s a bit at the end about reducing waste and composting that may inspire kids to change their habits.

The illustrations, while friendly and cartoony, are also clear and each organism is labeled and recognizable as a real being.

Anything you didn’t like about it?  Nope.

To whom would you recommend this book?  This book is suitable for any child who can sit for a story and is interested in where garbage goes and where soil comes from.  Also, any young reader who likes an opportunity to read the word “poop” out loud a bunch of times.

Who should buy this book?  Elementary schools, public libraries, nature centers.

Where would you shelve it?  Nonfiction 500s or 600s

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State:  Robin Shtulman, Athol Public Library, Athol, MA

Date of review:  January 28, 2022

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