The Last Straw: Kids vs. Plastics

by Susan Hood (Author) Christiane Engel (Illustrator)

The Last Straw: Kids vs. Plastics
Reading Level: K − 1st Grade

Thoughtful and thought-provoking, this book will plant the seeds of environmental activism in young readers. --Kirkus (starred review)"

I encourage everyone to read this book." --Dr. Jane Goodall

There's no doubt about it--plastic is in almost everything. From our phones and computers to our toys and utensils, plastic is everywhere. But the amount of plastic we throw away is hurting the health of our planet. With The Last Straw: Kids vs. Plastics, readers will be fascinated as they learn about the growing plastic problem and meet just a few of the young activists who are standing up and speaking out for change. You'll hear about the "Be Straw Free" campaign, started by nine-year-old Milo Cress. You'll discover how scientists are using jellyfish snot and munching, crunching caterpillars to break down plastic pollution faster. You'll meet Xóchitl Guadalupe Cruz López, the eight-year-old girl turning old plastic bottles into solar heaters. And there are many more incredible kids here, not much older than our readers, who will inspire us all to change the way we think about plastic! With an introduction from Milo Cress and bright, colorful illustrations from Christiane Engel, this collection of brilliant, lyrical nonfiction poems by award-winning author Susan Hood highlights the threat of plastic and the kids who are fighting for change to save our planet. Includes extensive backmatter with a timeline, author's note, further resources, and more.

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Kirkus Reviews

Starred Review

A blend of STEM and poetry, this multidisciplinary book artfully explains the benefits and problems of plastics and encourages activism and alternatives.

A variety of short topical verses for younger listeners is supplemented by short prose paragraphs with additional details for older readers. Illustrations that alternate between striking full-color double-page spreads and smaller colorful vignettes surrounded by white space are guaranteed to grab attention. In the two spreads that open the volume, a community map explains where plastics are commonly found, and an abecedary shows where plastics hide. The plastic content in items like eyeglasses and helmets might be obvious, but the notion that plastic is in chewing gum and cash will probably surprise readers. Interesting, fairly in-depth information about the life cycle of a discarded plastic fork, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a trash-collecting contraption in Baltimore’s river, uses for recycled plastics, potential solutions for plastic pollution that involve jellyfish or caterpillars, and alternatives to single-use plastic items follows. In addition to pages that specifically encourage activism, many pages feature quotes from young activists from around the world, and illustrations reflect a similar diversity. A hidden gem in the ample backmatter, Poetry Notes identify and explain the numerous poetic forms that make up the text. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 41.9% of actual size.)

Thoughtful and thought-provoking, this book will plant the seeds of environmental activism in young readers. (author’s note, timeline, additional resources) (Informational picture book/poetry. 5-10)

Review quotes

Thoughtful and thought-provoking, this book will plant the seeds of environmental activism in young readers.—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Publication date
February 20, 2021
BISAC categories
JNF042000 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Poetry | General
JNF037020 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Science & Nature | Environmental Conservation & Protection
JNF065000 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Recycling & Green Living
Library of Congress categories

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