Leo and the Plastic-Collecting Submarine

Tumblehome Learning. Oct. 2022. 32p. Tr $14.95. ISBN 9781943431786.
Gr 1-3–The importance of recycling plastics is amplified in this heavy-handed, didactic picture book for the older range of young readers. Although the illustrations and treatment of this topic are likely to evoke nostalgia and comparisons to the “Magic School Bus” series, this title is bereft of the plot and humor. There are no preceding events or explanation for why Leo’s mother owns a plastic submarine, she just does, and his question about it is enough for him to be taken on a trip where he (and readers) are literally dropped into a body of water teeming with plastic litter. While readers are likely to learn new vocabulary (hydronaut, microplastics, etc.), the effects of plastic pollution on marine life and how recycled plastics can be used for housing, there is not enough of a story to provide them with a sense of urgency or action. Bright comic-style illustrations feature characters of color.
VERDICT A well-intentioned effort buoyed by playful illustrations, deflated by a sparse plot and lack of momentum.

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