This book offers a thought-provoking allegory--with vivid, jewel-like illustrations--based on biologist Garrett Hardin's classic ecology essay (Science, 1968), "The Tragedy of the Commons." It raises important stewardship questions regarding the earth's flora, fauna, and natural resouces. It also deftly implies that the answer is embedded in this Tale of the Commons.
Insightful illustrations by this talented author-illustrator use cut-away diagrams and distorted aerial perspectives to amplify the text, and to provoke young readers to always consider "the bigger picture" when taking action.
Children can infer by themselves that to conserve natural resources and assume personal responsibility for them is the right thing to do--rather than being preached at. It is the heart of this story that inspires respect for the environment, as described with brevity, in simple terms.
Once upon a time, villagers could bring sheep to graze on a ``common ground'' called the town commons. The eventual outcome, due to disproportionate use--too many sheep and not enough grass--provides the historical example that is used repeatedly to explain problems and issues arising from present-day overuse of life-sustaining resources and global short-sightedness.
The author outlines the depletion of the seas, forests, fossil fuels, and water in a series of easily comprehensible verbal and visual vignettes. Children come to understand through story and pictures that there is but one Earth, and it needs to be shared equitably and with as little impact as possible, rather than be overused and threatened by humans.
Born in Princeton, New Jersey in 1943, Molly Bang, is committed to retelling and illustrating fables and folklore from many cultures. Her textual signature has been her whimsical humor and the element of mystery she adds to her stories. She has lived in Japan, India, and Mali--currently residing in Falmouth, MA.
Some of her other books also address science topics--including COMMON GROUND and CHATTANOOGA SLUDGE, which emphasizes the theme of recycling, and LIVING SUNLIGHT, which reveals the wonders of photosynthesis. She has received many honors and book awards, including two highly respected Caldecott Honor Book Awards (for TEN, NINE, EIGHT and THE GREY LADY AND THE STRAWBERRY SNATCHER). Her artwork demonstrates her mastery of a variety of artistic methods, from watercolor to collage to 3-dimensional dioramas.