Imagonna get a couple of minor criticisms outta the way first, and then we’ll get to the good stuff: Mulder oversimplifies here and there in some stage-setting passages, and young readers would have been well-served by a gentle warning that no matter how good one’s plans may be, bureaucracy can be an insurmountable hurdle. That said, this book is chockablock with really neat anecdotes about imaginative grassroots efforts to improve communities, and kiddos shouldn’t be deterred by those pesky grown-up ordinances from at least presenting a proposal (because some would definitely require city hall’s permission). That kind of civic experience is valuable in and of itself. There are (literally) small projects like “pothole parks,” the brainchild of Londoner Steve Wheen: he created a miniature scene in a gap in a neighborhood sidewalk, much to the delight of pedestrians. And there are huge undertakings, like the closing of nearly a mile of an expressway in Paris and covering it with sand to make a riverfront beach. Two million people used it for sunbathing and strolling throughout the summer of 2002! Mulder’s examples come from all over the world, illustrating the unifying desire for fellowship and fun. Sharp photos of completed projects and others in progress abound, along with factoids and first-person stories of how impactful creative kindness can be. One of my favorite transformations is the temporary “green space” some people make out of their downtown parking spots – they roll out a little artificial turf, place a bench on it, fill the meter, and leave the tiny oasis for passers-by to enjoy for a few hours. How awesome is that? This book shows kids that good can happen in the most surprising — and whimsical — ways.
Published by grandgirl71
I've worked as a youth librarian at the Fayetteville Public Library in Fayetteville, Arkansas, for 13 years. I have been the selector for our juvenile nonfiction collection since I started and really enjoy talking to teachers and other librarians about the best in new juvenile nonfic. Things have gotten even more fun as I have taken on our library's juvenile fiction collection, as well! I also lead a preschool story time, write and direct plays for a small tween acting troupe called PlayAct, coordinate two literacy support programs with therapy dogs and shelter cats, lead a book discussion at an assisted living facility, coordinate after-school workshops, and write puppet shows and skits that my coworkers and I perform. In my previous life, I was an eighth grade language arts teacher. I still get to share my love of words with kids, but I don't have to deal with standardized testing. HUZZAH! View all posts by grandgirl71