Be Cool, Follow Earth’s Rule by Penelope Ann Kysiak
I received this from the Dorrance Review group about a month ago, but saved it for Earth Day to read with my son. The story is really simple, it’s about a little girl (I am assuming, based on the pictures, although they never really say) who wants to know why they plant flowers, herbs and vegetables in their garden. Throughout the short story she learns the purpose of each one, why the family chooses to plant their own garden rather than sully up the land with poisons, and so on. Then, as she is preparing to shower before bed, her father reminds her to conserve water. She ends her evening with a nonsecular prayer of thanks for all of the beautiful things in nature and warns the reader to take care of the Earth.
The rhyming seems a little forced at times and doesn’t quite flow, but the little bits of information about the plants was a nice touch, and the overall message is a good one. I did feel that the writer could have expanded on the poisons in the ground, as she seemed to skim right past that and Jake wanted to know what kind of poisons she was talking about. Also, I’m not quire sure what the author meant by “flowers that glow” on the first page. So, honestly, the story itself really didn’t do much for me, but I’m not the target audience, and my son seemed to like it. My favorite feature of the book is the illustrations. They all look like a child’s watercolor project (albeit a fairly talented child, considering I am 35 and my watercolor paintings resemble lovely blobs), giving them a sweet, innocent charm. I think the child-like illustrations really help a younger child connect more with the story. At only 22 pages, the $17 price tag is a little steep, especially since it’s a paperback. I understand that small publishing houses have a much higher overhead, but as a fairly broke consumer, I can’t honestly say that I would have paid full price for the book. But that is a whole different issue.
Disclaimer- I received a complimentary copy of Be Cool, Follow Earth’s Rule as a member of the Dorrance Publishing Book Review Team. Visit dorrancebookstore.com to learn how you can become a member of the Book Review Team.