Planet SOS: 22 Modern Monsters Threatening Our Environment (and What You Can Do to Defeat Them!); Marie G. Rohde
There are lots of children’s books that deal with the problems that the planet is facing. In Planet SOS, Marie G Rohde has taken a unique and highly engaging approach that will be greatly appreciated by the target audience.
We are under attack from pollution monsters. They are invading towns and cities, rivers and oceans, the air, the land, even the sewers. And the worst part is…these monsters are absolutely thrilled with all of the problems that they are causing. But all is not lost, we have fought against them before and we can fight against them again. It is time to take action…
Planet SOS takes beasts and monsters from myths and legends and reimagines them as climate threats, introducing twenty-two delightfully named monsters including Atmosdragon, The Urban Sprawlosaurus, Smogosaurus, The Grease Behemoth and The Aqualik. Each monster is given a double page spread featuring a wonderfully whimsical illustration that is funny and friendly rather than scary. Monsters introduce themselves and proudly gloat about what damage and destruction they have done and can cause. A ‘Monster Card’ with symbols that can be interpreted using the fold out key at the front of the book shows what can be done to shrink the monster’s power and conversely what actions will see the monster’s power increase. A quirky ‘Monsterometer’ is used to show how much damage the monster is causing to the planet.
Somewhat ironically, the creation of all of these monsters is as a result of human actions. The monsters are quick to remind readers of what humans have done to power them from excessive use of cars and burning of fossil fuels to the human need to constantly buy new, the dumping of plastic waste in the oceans to oil spills, the use of toxic chemicals and nuclear power to deforestation and the destruction of habitats as a result of sprawling suburban areas. There is hope though, as with some nervousness the monsters go onto explain how humans have tried to defeat them although most are fairly confident that they will still be around for a while and in many cases their power may well be growing. Solutions provided to solving the damage the monsters cause include eating less meat, the use of renewable energy, sustainable city planning, composting, banning single use plastics and reducing the use of pesticides.
To reinforce the responsibility of humans and the power we have to really make a difference, Rohde passionately makes a planet-saving plea to readers in strongly worded forewords and afterwords. At the back of the book there is a fold-out map that shows the location and threat of the monsters although somewhat misleadingly it suggests that threats are specific to certain geographic locations rather than a global threat. Included on the map is a neat timeline that identifies key events that have impacted the climate. There is also a detailed glossary, an overview of all of the ‘Monster Cards’ allowing for quick reference, a list of sources and an index.
In what is a crowded marketplace, this is a book that really stands out and will bring much delight to young eco-crusaders with the challenges it poses and the actions that can be taken to make a change. Now let’s go and defeat some monsters.
Recommended for 8+.