CM . . .
. Volume XIX Number 7. . . .October 19, 2012
Justine McKeen, Pooper Scooper. (Orca Echoes).
Sigmund Brouwer. Illustrated by Dave Whamond.
Victoria, BC: Orca, 2012.
59 pp., pbk., pdf & epub., $9.95 (pbk.).
ISBN 978-1-5546-9931-5 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-5546-9332-2 (pdf), ISBN 978-1-4598-0317-6 (epub).
Grades 2-4 / Ages 7-9.
Review by Robert Groberman.
Reviewed from Advance Reading Copy.
"My mom made a Pooper Scooper Facebook page for us last night, Safdar said. "She posted all the facts about dog poop is bad for the environment on it. It also explains how much we need Mrs. Reynolds back. My mom posted Mr. Ripley's phone number there too, so people could call him. She already has one thousand Likes. People think it's great that kids are trying to clean up the park.
Justine McKeen, Pooper Scooper is author Sigmund Brouwer's third featuring Justine McKeen. Brouwer continues to create stories for children that feature contemporary problems and introduce creative solutions. In Justine McKeen, Pooper Scooper, Jusine's school has introduced ebook readers for every student and, at the same time, cut down on the librarian's time. Justine is outraged. She and her friends discuss with their friendly librarian at the librarian's home that having an ebook reader is nice, but it doesn't help to learn to do research and other library skills. Their librarian explains that the library time cut is a school board budget cut, made by the superintendent of schools.
Once Justine is able to focus her energy on the problem-causer (the superintendent), she and her friends head to the school board offices which border a park filled with dog poop. The story takes a sidestep to explain the environmental problems caused by dog owners who do not pick up after their pets. When Justine's meeting with the superintendent does not produce a solution, but the superintendent expresses the need to clean up the park as a top priority, Justine begins to rally the press and other students.
After an unflattering newspaper story states the superintendent has prioritized cleaning up a park over maintaining librarian time, and a group of volunteers led by Justine cleans up the entire park in a day, the superintendent comes to the school to meet with Justine. He doesn't replace the lost library hours. That, he explains, is a decision that must come from a school board vote. He wants to encourage all of the students and parents who mobilized to clean up the park to do so again for the next school board meeting. He has learned, he says, that when many people speak for a cause, then change can happen, and he thinks that his school board will listen.
There is one full-page illustration per chapter by Dave Whamond, and each one closely depicts the action of the story.
Justine McKeen, Pooper Scooper, an inspiring story about protest, is written at an appropriate level so that young children will understand that, through identifying a problem and acting peacefully through protest and pro-active action, change is possible.
Robert Groberman is a grade three teacher at Kirkbride Elementary School in Surrey, BC.
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