Remember nature when you were a kid? I remember loving the smell of my skin after a long summer day outside. It was a cross between sweetness and salt. Like kettle corn, or maybe coconuts and peanuts? (and we didn’t wear sunscreen in the 80s, so what was that coconut?). The smell of outdoors is really special to a child. Stay with me, I am getting there.
How about that special spot in your neighborhood, or close to your neighborhood by bike? For my friends and me it was the empty lot across the street and next to my neighbor John Palmieri’s house. We had a tree, vines, sticks, ticks, weeds, and it was all for us. Nobody was patroling it or telling us to get out of the lot. It was pure bliss. These are the memories that Me and Marvin Gardens by A.S. King has dug up. With the most gorgeous of shovels.
Obe Devlin is a 6th grader who has a creek, a river, and a route that he enjoys on his walks. He is a very evolved twelve year old who knows what is right and wrong, in the most universal sense. In his exporations he finds a new animal—a plastic-munching animal who poops really awful, acidic poop. I mean, if you eat and digest plastic, what else would your “scat” be? Don’t be put off. Poop is really important in the world of animals and the environment, and this story develops this idea better than I can in a review. This book makes a non-preachy statement about our enoviornment and what we are doing to our Earth. Again—it is written well, with no sense of “do this, do that.” That’s what exceptional writers do. They express and design with a direct kind of elegance. A.S. King is a pro at this.
Obe continues to visit his new animal species friend and names him Marvin Gardens. It certainly is a nod to Monopoly. The land that Obe’s mom’s famliy once owned—the many acres of beautiful farmland— is being developed in three phases of housing. Obe is not pleased, but instead focuses on protecting his new animal friend—the dog/pig combo who eats plastic.
I won’t say more except that in addition to commenting on what humans are doing to our natural Earth, the book also examines what we are doing to each other. Let’s be more careful with our behaviors.
Please read it. It warmed my heart, opened my mind, and gave me all kinds of feelings.
On a totally different note, check out this link because it is one of my favorites. Hazy Shade
Treat your Earth well. And think back to those childhood days when nature was louder in your heart.