3 out of 4 stars
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In her children's book, Commissioner of Garbage: There's a Storm Coming, author Cathy Hodsdon takes her young readers to a town in Idaho where an emergency is underway. A blizzard is expected for the area, and it's up to Commissioner Roy to make sure that all of the refuse is collected before the snow creates impassable road conditions. As the story begins, he and his office assistant answer a barrage of phone calls and begin to execute a strategy to get the job accomplished.
What I admire about this tale is that it demonstrates the importance of services that many of us take for granted. I live in a climate that experiences winter storms quite frequently, and the lack of garbage removal can be somewhat troublesome. I liked that this topic is presented to get children thinking about how those who serve our communities are important. This may foster career choices or plant the idea of recycling and taking care of the environment.
Also, the illustrations are wonderfully done, depicting blowing winds and ominous clouds. Small details are included, such as garbage lying on the ground is picked up and put into proper receptacles by the end of the book. This adds a nice touch of closure and a sense of accomplishment.
With its great message, however, some issues need to be addressed. Throughout the entire story, past and present tenses are mixed. Along with this, the first word in almost every dialogue is not capitalized correctly. For example, during an initial conversation, this sentence is written this way: Roy told Jasmine, "tell everyone who calls, the trucks are on their way!" The word 'tell' should be capitalized, and only one or two sentences throughout the book are done correctly.
With these areas needing some more editing work, I am awarding this 3 out of 4 stars. The changes to the material should be quite simple to accomplish, and the positive plot does warrant it a perfect score, but the mistakes forced me to reduce it by one star. I would recommend this to adults who enjoy reading to preschoolers, and this could be read independently by children who are in early elementary grades. However, I would like to see this author make the necessary amendments so that no mistakes remain.
Commissioner of Garbage
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