Green Machine: The Slightly Gross Truth About Turning Your Food Scraps into Green Energy

Rebecca Donnelly, illus. by Christophe Jacques. Holt/Godwin, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-250-30406-3
Confusing text choices weaken this rhyming introduction to green energy, which follows food “from the farm to the town, to the market, the kitchen, the plate,” into the compost pile, and off to the processing plant. In Jacques’s retro-mod cartoon illustrations, a green truck (“Call it Peels on Wheels or a truck full of yuck”) collects materials from green recycling bins, taking them to a large stinky tank “where trash becomes gas” and large, goggle-eyed microbes peer out from their “slow, murky work.” Unfortunately, the text zips by complex ideas, such as anaerobic digestion and biogas, without initial explanation, and the lines seem to favor cadence over clarity (“It’s airtight in there, no O2 for these bugs,/ tiny microbes that eat food plus poop”), which may prove perplexing to readers not already in the know. An illustrated diagram at the end clarifies the process, and endnotes make the case for green energy and belatedly explain anaerobic digestion. Ages 4–8. (Mar.)
Reviewed on : 03/05/2020
Release date: 03/17/2020
Genre: Children's
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