cover image I’m Not a Plastic Bag

I’m Not a Plastic Bag

Rachel Hope Allison. Archaia, $19.95 trade paper (88p) ISBN 978-1-936393-54-1

An allegorical tale about pollution has never before featured such a sympathetic trash monster. In this wordless graphic novel, produced in association with biologist/TV host Jeff Corwin, Allison tackles the real-world result of modern consumption and trash production: the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. But rather than showing the formless slew it is in reality, Allison creates a lonely, floating landfill that communicates in words from restaurant signs and name tags. By its very nature, the trash monster is a danger to those it would befriend, and its only hope for happiness lies in transformation. Allison communicates a large range of emotion for the creature with an umbrella and a tire for eyes. Her two-page spreads of both nature and the trash accumulating in it are, by turn, beautiful and heart-wrenching. While the introduction and short articles about the environment are helpful for presenting the real-world inspiration for Allison, they lack the impact of her art and serve solely as additional information. While easily useful for elementary to high school classrooms discussing issues in the environment, adults will be the ones who get the full impact of the allegory. Ages 6–up. (May)