This Book Is Not Rubbish by Isabel Thomas

The Blurb On The Back:

Our planet is in peril and it needs your help!

But the good news is that there are loads of easy ways that you can get involved and make a difference!

From ditching straws and banning glitter to appointing yourself chief of recycling or hosting a plastic-free birthday party, helping to save the planet is not as difficult as you think.

So take control of your future!  Become an eco-warrior not an eco-worrier and help to save the world from rubbish!

Thanks to the Amazon Vine Programme for the review copy of this book.

You can order THIS BOOK IS NOT RUBBISH by Isabel Thomas from Amazon UK, Waterstone’s or UK.  I earn commission on any purchases made through these links.

The Review (Cut For Spoilers):

Isabel Thomas is an award-winning science writer.  This punchily written book for readers aged 9+ (illustrated by Alex Paterson) offers 50 ways to help save the planet, from increasing the amount of vegetables that you eat to reducing plastic consumption, recycling clothes and saving energy but seems written for more middle class readers and I can’t see some of the suggestions (e.g. clothes swaps and giving up video games) being popular.

There are some perfectly sensible ideas offered up in this book for readers who are concerned about the environment and want to do their bit to help the planet.  For example, swapping baths for showers and then limiting the amount of time you spend in the shower is a good way of conserving water (something that has become a big concern in 2022 following the hot summer, which saw hose pipe bans being introduced).  Equally, given the current energy crisis there are some good tips on reducing electricity use, e.g. opening the curtains/blinds first thing in the morning rather than turning the light on, turning the brightness and volume down on devices so that they use less electricity and therefore need less recharging and turning TVs, consoles etc off at the plug rather than leaving them on standby.

However, there are some suggestions that suggest this book is aimed at young readers from better-off households than those from poorer families.  For example, there’s a suggestion about doing washing up in the dishwasher rather than in a bowl, which some families simply won’t have.  Equally, although I agree with the suggestion about reducing clothes consumption and having clothes swaps, I think the book is tone deaf to how young readers tend to view fashion and how important it is for them to “keep up” and how children who do buy from second hand stores or use hand-me-downs from older siblings are treated.  Also, given this book is aimed at readers aged 9+ I was a little sceptical about how open they would be to suggestions like using rubbish to make works of art (and simultaneously wondered what would happen to those artworks once they were finished – presumably they would go to recycling or the rubbish tip).

Alex Paterson’s illustrations are fun and reinforce the points made in Thomas’s suggestions.  However there’s a strange planet-o-meter graphic which purports to show the effectiveness of each suggestion, which left me a bit flummoxed as I had to keep cross-referring back to the guide at the front of the book to understand what the different graphics meant in order to work out what the purported impact was.

It’s not a bad book – there are some good ideas in there, some of which will keep your young readers occupied for a while.  However I do think there are better books on this subject for young readers with an interest and it’s noticeable that this is yet another book that places an emphasis on individual action and responsibility rather than talking about activism against corporate polluters or to encourage better corporate environmental responsibility.  

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