General Waste by Michael Streich

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General Waste has a house full of stuff. He uses a different tooth brush every day, dries his hair on a number of hair dryers, and has a collection of potions and lotions. His house is so full of stuff he has no idea of what was actually there. He lives on the top floor, and beneath him lives Gram-Gram. She saves every bit of food she can, all preserved in her enormous pantry. General Waste on the other hand never eats everything down to the last bite, because he thinks that the first bite is the best, so throws away the rest.

Gram-Gram rides everywhere on her bicycle, while the General loves his huge four wheel drive car. Gram-Gram reuses and mends her clothes, while Genera Waste loves nothing more than buying new clothes.

But comes the day when he has not more room. He calls out help and Gram-Gram is there to help. She puts many of his things into boxes to go to the charity shop and keeps back just what he needs. Then she shows him how to reuse and mend things. She shows him how to cook and preserve what he needs. Then they use some of his rubbish to make art and music. She helps him plant trees and garden so he will be able to eat food he has grown.

Cute illustrations dot the pages, with an emphasis on all the rubbish the General collects. The illustrations contrast the life style of the two people and how one of the characters changes his way of living. This is a wonderful presentation of the lifestyle of those who care about our environment. Much discussion will come out of the story as it show’s very clearly what is best for our surroundings, and how we can all learn to recycle, reuse, reduce and grow.

Themes: Recycling, Environment.

Fran Knight