I’ve been up till all hours, saving the planet on our street.
Lauren Child gives us a taste of “How to be an Ecowarrior” with her charming book, What Planet are You From, Clarice Bean?
I gotta admit, for a mom, I got turned on to Lauren Child mighty late. Late, as in, the beloved characters Charlie and Lola first appeared in 2000. I had my first child in 2005. And we just discovered Child’s books last year starting with I Will Not Ever, NEVER Eat a Tomato. Because the 3yo loves all the vegetables in the whole wide world, it was a bit tricky for him to understand.
Clarice Bean, as you might already know, is a witty, intelligent, precocious child. Perhaps like the one you have in your own home?
In What Planet, she works on a report with Robert Granger (“I mainly like to ignore him”) about the environment (“which is nature, really). Ugh. He wants to see who can move faster: snails or worms. She jut wants to make it to class on time.
Then the news hits that a tree on Navarino Street is to be chopped down. Her brother Kurt becomes an ecowarrior and camps out in the beloved tree with his girl friend. Clarice and friends make signs…
Free the Tree!
…because it rhymes. They have a picnic up there, with no meat, because Kurt won’t eat anything with legs or feathers.
In the end, Clarice is just like a child you might know: she took action that was bigger than herself, gave cute commentary on the goings-on of her family, and learned about activism in the greater world. Or maybe she didn’t. Maybe she just enjoyed hanging out in a tree with her family. Isn’t that enough?