Captain Green and the Tree Machine

Marshall Cavendish. Apr. 2021. 32p. Tr $10. ISBN 9789814893206.
K-Gr 2–Captain Green arrives on the scene again, this time to tackle deforestation. When three different creatures found in Southeast Asia—a hornbill, an orangutan, and a pygmy elephant—call out for help as their trees are cut down or destroyed by fire, Captain Green, a white boy with blond hair, flies in to find them new shelter, but he knows more is needed. He has been working on an invention that shoots saplings into the ground, which works great—until it falls apart. He plunks down on a freshly cut tree stump and bemoans a sudden and somber realization: “It seems easier to ruin a forest than to grow one!” More help is needed, and he knows just where to go to get it: a school where the children have been learning all about trees. Together, Captain Green and the children, a robustly diverse crew, set out to plant seedlings wherever they can. It is a straightforward story with a simplistic answer to a complex problem, but young children will enjoy Captain Green’s superhero energy and enthusiasm as well as his urgent message. With large, noisy words (“ZOOOP!” “WHOOSH!” “BANG!”) spread across the pages full of lively, colorful details, it will be easy to engage listeners.The back matter contains a page of “Captain Green’s Green Facts” about the role trees play in the planet’s health and a page of suggestions for what can be done to reduce our dependence on products made from trees.
VERDICT The story exudes a cartoon-like playfulness but with a serious intent to educate and inspire children about the need to keep our world green. Those who loved Captain Green’s approach to solving the plastics problem will no doubt take to this title as well.

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