William is Going Green, written by James Martin II and James Martin III, is the story of a garbage truck that loses his job, because he is too polluting. In search of a new job, William travels from town to town until he finds a green, clean city. He is told he could be hired as a recycling truck, if only he had a hybrid engine. Unfortunately, out-of-work William does not have the money for a new, cleaner engine, until he rescues a cat from a sewer. The cat Gage belongs to a mechanic, and William is given a hybrid engine and coat of green paint in reward for the rescue. The author explains, “My son James III and I created the William the Garbage Truck & Crew series to share what we learned about global warming and the benefits of conservation.”
My son, like many boys, adores trucks. He enjoyed William is Going Green when his sister read it to her, but there is one thing about the story I find a bit awkward. I do think that city garbage trucks should have hybrid motors, but as mentioned in the book, the cost to convert a truck is expensive and not readily available. William’s reward for rescuing a cat is not the solution for most city garbage trucks, and I think it is a little misleading to children who really want to see change. Perhaps there is another way William could have gotten a new hybrid motor from recycling proceeds, donations, gas taxes, etc. Maybe I am too much of a realist, but I like my green children’s fiction to address the realities of environmental change. This part of the story didn’t bother my children at all, and they really did like it.
This book is made with 100% wind power and is FSC certified. I truly appreciate the publisher’s efforts to use green practices when publishing a book designed to educate children on environmental issues. This is the first William book in the series, and we’ll have to wait for the next book to see what happens now that William has gone green.