The Extraordinary Book That Eats Itself

Illustrated by Pintachan

“This is a book that turns itself into dozens of eco-projects to inspire you to think more about the planet we all call home.”

The Extraordinary Book That Eats Itself is a picturebook-size interactive activity book designed for children, featuring 30 eco-friendly projects that promote reducing, reusing, and recycling of household items. As readers engage with the activities, they are prompted to rethink their relationship with the natural world and discover how they can make a tangible difference in protecting the environment in their daily life. Projects are named by activity and impact articulated in terms that children can relate to. For example, “Go plastic free [activity] to stop harming ocean creatures [impact]” or “Build a bug hotel [activity] to protect the mini-recyclers [impact].” Each project includes an introduction, a brief explanation of its significance, and step-by-step instructions. While some projects can be completed independently, others are best done with adult supervision. Each project can be done separately and in any order. Almost all pages serve as instructions and/or material to create a project; other pages are marked with footnotes “DON’T FORGET TO RECYCLE THIS PAGE! Use it to make…” followed by a specific item for a specific project. By the end of the book, readers will have used it for various activities and will have completed a number of the eco-friendly projects, transforming the book through their engagement with it. As the authors state in the Welcome Page, all activities are meant to “help you to change the way you think about the natural world and how you can make a real difference.”

The Extraordinary Book That Eats Itself is a captivating hands-on introduction to youth climate activism, environmental awareness, and a number of climate literacy concepts: recycling, composting, reuse, plastic pollution, light pollution, local food, energy, upcycling, global warming, afforestation, carbon cycle, consumer culture, collective action, Leave No Trace ethic, endangered species, wildlife conservation, pollinators, litter clean up, wildflowers, habitats, sustainable transportation, ecosystems, birds, water, rewilding, zero-waste and food waste. Most of these concepts are named directly and are addressed in several different project: considerations of energy, for example, are central to projects 4 (on local food and saving food miles), 5 (on heating and cooling), 6 (on light pollution), 14 (on eliminating standby power waste), 18 (on biking and hiking), 21 (on saving water), and 24 (on saving energy). Reuse and recycling, in turn, inform projects 2 (on reducing buying), 3 (on going plastic-free), 7 (on reducing waste), 11 (on recycling garbage), 15 (on building a big hotel), 16 (on sorting and recycling waste), and 20 (on swapping and recycling clothes). Some projects combine multiple concepts. For example, endangered species, wildlife conservation, pollinators, wildflowers, habitats, ecosystems, birds, and rewilding are all integrated in “Throw a Seedball” (project 23): children make seed balls with assistance of adults to combat the loss of natural habitats caused by land development. The bottom of the front page shows instructions on how to make seed balls with flour, dirt, and wildflower seed, while the back page introduces another instruction to make seed writing paper by mixing recycled paper, water, and seed. This activity prompts children to actively engage with protecting nature in a creative way and to understand how flowers help to conserve the soil from washing away by rains. Other concepts are not named—like Leave No Trace ethic, collective action, biodiversity, or fractal flourishing—but illustrated through specific examples, like eco-picnic in project 8, clothes swap part in project 20, or actions that stop harming animals in project 27.

Designed to assist young children to learn about various forms of recycling and sustainability through a variety of eco-friendly projects, the book empowers children to develop climate literacy skills, care-based ethic (see CLiCK), and learn how their actions impact the environment. As the authors note, the book’s aim is to help young children “create a better future for our wonderful Earth and its people and wildlife.” This is one of a kind book to enjoy!

©2023 ClimateLit (Hyokyung Kwak)

See also: The Extraordinary Book that Invents Itself (Feb 7, 2023)

Publisher: Earthware Kids, 2020

Pages: 64

Lexile Score: IG650L

ISBN: 978-1681885476

Audience: Ages 4-7, Ages 8-13

Format: Nonfiction

Topics: Afforestation, Biodiversity, Birds, CLICK Framework, Carbon Cycle, Clean-up Operations, Climate Literacy, Collective Climate Action, Composting, Conservation, Consumerism, Earth Care, Ecosystems, Endangered Species, Energy, Environmental Awareness, Food Waste, Fractal Flourishing, Global Warming, Habitat Loss, Habitats, Leave No Trace Ethic, Light Pollution, Local Food, Plastic Pollution, Pollinators, Recycling, Reuse, Rewilding, Soil, Sustainability, Sustainable Transportation, Upcycling, Water Conservation, Wildflowers, Wildlife, Youth Climate Activism, Zero Waste