Synopsis from Kids Can Press:
In his signature quirky style, Russell Ayto takes on plastic pollution with this story about a video game-loving boy named Neo and some unexpected aquatic visitors who need his help.
Neo lives next to the ocean, where there’s a big plastic pollution problem. But Neo doesn’t notice. He’s too busy playing his favorite video game, joining forces with all the other Earth-bots to defend the planet against invading aliens. One day, though, Neo’s sea creature neighbors keep interrupting his game, as one after another comes to his door, pleading with him to help them clean up the plastic that’s ruining their home. Finally, to get them to go away, Neo agrees to check it out. And the plastic mess he sees in the ocean shocks him. He suddenly realizes there’s an actual invasion taking place right outside his door — one that’s too big for him to handle on his own!
With a refreshing approach to the timely topic of plastic pollution in the world’s oceans, here’s a readable picture book that manages to be offbeat and loads of fun without making light of the issue. Award-winning author-illustrator Russell Ayto’s one-of-a-kind storytelling and hilarious illustrations will keep the pages turning, leading readers to concrete suggestions for how they can help. With its important environmental message and positive themes of teamwork, responsibility and stewardship, this book offers excellent connections to life science, earth science and social science curriculums.
About: An Earth-Bot’s Solution to Plastic Pollution is a science and nature children’s fiction written and illustrated by Russell Ayto. It was published on 9/7/2021 by Kids Can Press, an imprint of Hachette Book Group, hardcover, 40 pages. The genres are children’s fiction, picture book, and nature. This book is intended for readers ages 4 to 7, grades P to 2. According to Kids Can Press’ website, it is “the largest Canadian-owned children’s publisher in the world.” The Toronto-based publisher has variety of books for all readers, from picture books to non-fiction, graphic novels, young adult, and more. Please see below for more information about the author, illustrator, and publisher.
My Experience: I started reading An Earth-Bot’s Solution to Plastic Pollution on 12/6/2021 for my toddler’s bedtime and finished it that same night. I read it again for her on 1/3/2022. Such an important topic for kids. I have my 10 year old read this book too. An excellent read, this book engaged young readers with a character who spent all of his time playing video games and ignoring everything around him. His room was messy but he had an important task at hand and it’s protecting the earth from invading space aliens. Neo was a good character because when he’s interrupted enough times, he was willing to put his game aside to address the trouble. When he saw trouble was bigger than his game, he raised questions. His questions led him to take immediate actions. Neo’s a good influence to young readers with his advice on taking part in reducing plastic in the ocean by using less plastic and recycle the plastics in his room.
This book followed Neo who lived next to an ocean. Neo liked to play video games. His favorite was the Space Cabbages. In that game, he defended the earth by tossing cabbages at invading aliens. Neo’s grandpa wanted Neo to clean up his room instead of playing video games because it’s a mess of plastics. Before grandpa left for an astronaut reunion party, he left Neo with some cleaning supplies which composed of a feather duster, a vacuum, and a recycling bin. Neo kept on playing his game and while playing, someone knocked on his door. It was a seal and he informed Neo that plastic pollution is ruining the ocean and need Neo’s help to clean it up. Neo tossed him a feather duster. Then someone else knocked Neo’s door interrupting his game. This time a penguin and a turtle came by asking Neo to help clean the plastic filled ocean. Of course Neo tossed them the vacuum cleaner and a recycling bin. As readers read the story, readers will learn that the ocean isn’t dusty and the trash floats away so these cleaning supplies will be useless. When Neo finally saw the plastic filled ocean with his own eyes and how it’s hurting the marine animals, he wanted to take immediate action to help, starting with his room.
An Earth-Bot’s Solution to Plastic Pollution was well written and illustrated. The illustrations though not as colorful as I would have liked when reading it to a little girl, I appreciate the different style of drawings. My toddler likes the whale. I like that illustrations of the penguin vacuuming the fish in the ocean. Good humor there. Neo’s skinny legs house above water reminds me of those houses near the beach. The advices to reduce, reuse, and recycle at the end of the book were good information for kids. I do recommend everyone to read this book!
I rate it 5 stars!
About the Author:
Russell Ayto was born in Sussex and raised in Oxfordshire, England, where he used to run wild, make things and draw. But not necessarily all at the same time.
He was keen on science too, once accidentally setting fire to his chemistry partner’s hair without them noticing. Eventually, he ended up working as a medical laboratory scientific officer in the Department of Histopathology at the John Radcliffe II Hospital in Oxford. Which he successfully managed to not set on fire. It was there that Russell’s boss saw one of his paintings and wondered why Russell wasn’t doing art …
So, he left to do art at Exeter College of Art and Design.
A few years later, he moved to Cornwall, where he still lives with his family, illustrating books for various children’s publishers and, more recently, writing his own stories, too.
Russell was the art director on the animated short film The Cow That Almost Missed Christmas, produced by the BBC and Baby Cow Productions. His picture book series Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs, written by Giles Andreae, was also made into an animated television series.
Russell loves comedy, from Charlie Chaplin and Laurel and Hardy to Spike Milligan and Monty Python, and artists such as Picasso, David Hockney, George Grosz, Saul Bass and 18th century English caricaturists.
Today, Russell’s wife has declared him to be a very successful recluse, working happily away for days on end in perfect solitude. She has promised to inform the children in the unlikely event that Russell ever manages to emerge from his studio more than once a year to go to the shops.
Twitter: @RussellAyto (Photo obtained from the author’s Instagram account and info obtained from Kids Can Press’ website).
More Information about Kids Can Press
***Disclaimer: Many thanks to Kids Can Press for the opportunity to read and review. Please be assured that my opinions are honest.