cover image Common Ground: The Water, Earth, and Air We Share

Common Ground: The Water, Earth, and Air We Share

Molly Bang. Blue Sky Press (AZ), $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-590-10056-4

Painted in bright, carefree colors of brilliant ocean blue, lemon yellow and emerald green, this little volume sounds a sober warning about increasing demands on earth's dwindling resources. Bang (Goose) frames the complex contemporary issues of overfishing, deforestation, water pollution and the depletion of fossil fuels within the simpler context of the old village commons. For example, when villagers grazed their sheep on a shared plot, inequity and overcrowding resulted. People with more sheep used more land; and, because it was free, everyone grazed as many sheep as possible. Two responses emerged: some people left to find open land; others remained, setting a limit of one sheep per person and promising ""to keep the commons lush and green, and do a better job of sharing it."" The colorful patterns of Bang's bustling paintings in full-bleed double-page spreads reveal fish farms, gardens, windmills and solar panels amid the proliferation of industry and machinery. But more subtle is a disturbing arms build-up: as green nature disappears and demands upon the environment compound, guards--pointing guns at one another--multiply. Bang's understated text and subtle illustrations raise important issues about community and the environment, and will leave children--and adults--with much to think about. Ages 6-12. (Oct.)