All That Trash: The Story of the 1987 Garbage Barge and Our Problem with Stuff

Meghan McCarthy. S&S/Wiseman, $17.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-4814-7752-9
Stowed, towed, shunned, shunted, guarded, studied, and eventually incinerated: McCarthy (The Wildest Race Ever) looks at what happened to an unwanted barge carrying more than 3,000 tons of New York trash in 1987 in this thoroughly researched picture book account. Her signature big-eyed cartoons and straightforward narrative style recount how the trash was loaded on a barge with a plan to let it decompose elsewhere to produce methane for energy production. All goes awry when no port will allow it to dock. Talking-head vignettes of politicians, newscasters, and the barge’s tugboat captain (flies encircling his head) comment via speech bubbles. “Wherever this stuff goes, it’s going to be somebody else’s problem,” says a Louisiana mayor. The discussion of America’s “problem with stuff,” as referenced in the subtitle, is relegated to the extensive backmatter, which includes details about the barge, the sensation it became, and the aftermath of the events described in the book, as well as information about America’s history with refuse and recycling. An entertaining true tale of a smelly saga in U.S. history. Ages 4–8. Agent: Alexandra Penfold, Upstart Crow Literary. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 12/04/2017
Release date: 02/27/2018
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