Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Trouble on Earth Day Review

Title: Trouble on Earth Day

Author: Kathy Stemke

Illustrator: Kurt Wilchen

Published by Wild Plains Press

ISBN: 978-1-936021-36-9

Reviewed by Karen Cioffi

As a proponent of conservation and the environment, I love children’s books that approach this topic in an engaging and entertaining format. Trouble on Earth Day by Kathy Stemke does just that.

The story begins with the main character, Shelby the squirrel, winning the Earth Day poster contest; the young reader is quickly brought into the focus of the story, our environment. Shelby’s poster has “Rethink, Reuse, and Recycle” boldly and colorfully written on it.

As the story progresses, Shelby and her parents discuss the different ways individuals and families can conserve, such as using old clothing for a quilt.

It also delves into the effects of deforestation. When Shelby hears the cries of a “little bird,” she searches until she finds it, then asks the bird what’s wrong. The bird explains, “The workman cut down my tree and my nest. I found a new tree, but I can only find twigs to make a new home.”

Using ingenuity and what she learned from her parents, Shelby helps the bird build a new nest using recyclable items from her home. Trouble on Earth Day will quickly heave children asking about the environment and looking around their homes for items that can be recycled.

Adding to the invitingness of this delightful story are amazing full page illustrations by Kurt Wilchen. Each page has vivid and bold illustrations that will surely grab and hold a young reader’s attention. Along with all this, Stemke includes pages and pages of activities, and additional information about conservation and the environment, all to help children better understand the story’s theme. It even includes a song titled “The Fuzzy Squirrel” that children can sing to with the music from “I’m a Little Teapot.”

Some of the activities and information include in Educator’s Edition:

  • Reading comprehension activities
  • Original topic related lyrics that children can sing to the melody of classic favorites
  • Discussion topics, such as Why Trees are Important and What Things Can be Reused
  • Games, including the Going Green Game
  • Recycling activities, such as making napkin rings using recycled toilet paper rolls, recycling old CDs to make ornaments, and how to recycle old crayons
  • Dolch Sight Word activity page

My favorite information page in Trouble on Earth Day briefly explains what went on before the first Earth Day in April 1970, what the focus of Earth day is, and why it’s so important.

Learning how each of us can take steps to protect our environment is important for children and adults alike. It will take all our efforts to help improve the environment for a healthier tomorrow. Trouble on Earth Day is a great start for children.


Karen Cioffi is a published author, ghostwriter, and editor for 4RV Publishing. For writing and marketing information, and to find out more about Karen and her books, visit: http://karencioffiwritingandmarketing.com. While there, be sure to sign-up for her newsletter, A Writer’s World.
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1 comment:

anthony stemke said...

Wow, Miss Cioffi really understands the delicate balance found in nature between wildlife, vegetation and human involvement.

Her narrative is rich and colourful and her appreciation of the educative processes is quite obvious.