Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Talking dirty

It's Review It Wednesday and today we're talking dirty. Well, actually, we're talking dirt. Compost, to be exact. Compost and a worm named Pee Wee.

I stumbled upon this wonderful series of children's books by Larraine Roulston and contacted her to see if she would send me a book or two for review. She graciously agreed and sent me the whole series (at no charge, of course).

As soon as I could, I sat down with my granddaughter, Laura, and started to read. I was expecting a short picture book, but was surprised to discover a rather lengthy book, better suited for school-aged children.

Larraine Roulston is a resident of Peterborough, Ontario where she lives with her husband, Peter. She's been writing about environmental issues since 1987 and is an active member of the Composting Council of Canada. She's also served on the board of directors for the Recycling Council of Ontario. This writer knows her stuff about composting and she shares it in such a way that kids (and adults) are entertained while being educated. She even includes a catchy composting song (sung to the tune of the Hokey Pokey) that Laura and I now sing on a regular basis.

Pee Wee, Sammy Sowbug, Mini Millipede, Bradley Beetle, Susie Springtail and Verme the earthworm  take us on adventures through composting. There is suspense. There is friendship. There is dirt. And bugs. And all things yucky. But yuckiness is easily transformed into something more than a science experiment ... it's transformed into a way of life for kids and their families who, after reading these books, can embrace the logic of composting, and ultimately, live greener lives.

I love this series.

While Laura seems to have a longer attention span than many three-year-olds, the books are a bit long for the toddler group. But maybe I'm not giving them enough credit. After all, when Grandpap and Laura were planting my herb garden, Laura wasn't frightened by the dozens of creepy crawlers ... she just said, "Look, there's Mini Millipede!" Aha! The lessons stuck!

Isn't that what we want from really good children's books? Lessons that stick? Well, that's exactly what you get with the Pee Wee's composting series.

Here are the six books in the series:
  • Pee Wee and the Magical Compost Heap      This is the first book in the series and it introduces kids to backyard composting through the adventures of Pee Wee, the endearing little red wiggler worm and all the other insects in the compost heap. There are even guides in the back of this 22-page book: Materials to Compost, Do Not Compost, and Composting Glossary and Further Information Guide.
  • Pee Wee's Great Adventure      With instructions on how to care for worms and harvest their castings (a cleaned-up word for worm poop), this book takes us on an adventure that ultimately teaches us all about vermicomposting (from a worm's eye view!). 
  • Pee Wee's Family in a Nutshell      Here kids learn the difference between backyard composting and vermicomposting.
  • Pee Wee Goes to the Fair       It's time for the Spring Environmental Science Fair and Pee Wee and all his friends spend a day at the fair.
  • Pee Wee's Magical Compost Tea      The human kids in this story learn about the benefits of brewing and applying compost tea for a Waste Reduction Week activity, while Pee Wee and the other compost critters plan their own compost tea party inside of a rotting pumpkin.
  • Pee Wee's Magical Compost Heap Colouring and Activity Book      As if the storybooks aren't enough fun, Larraine added one last book to the series -- a 24-page colouring and activity book sure to delight green-minded kids, parents and teachers. What fun!
All of the books, with the exception of the first one, are printed on 100% post-consumer paper that is acid-free, using vegetable-based inks for printing. How green is that?!
 
These truly are a valuable resource for parents and teachers when it comes to teaching kids about composting in a way that will stick. While it seems that so many books out there appeal to little girls, this is a series of books that little boys will just eat up! I mean, seriously ... they're about creepy crawler bugs, for goodness' sake!

The books are economical as well. You can order the entire set for just $35 plus postage. Teachers can even add Pee Wee's Fun with Worms Teacher's Guide to further enhance this educational opportunity. Visit the website for more information or contact Larraine at peewee@castlecompost.com or 705-778-1922.

Since I received the whole set, I thought I'd host a giveaway so you could have the chance to experience a taste of Pee Wee's adventures for yourself! Entering is super simple. Good luck!


 


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30 comments:

  1. Best composting tip - leave a small compost container on your kitchen counter somewhere between where you chop veggies and your garbage can. You'll see it and remember to compost your kitchen scraps instead of throwing them away!

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    1. Great tip, Mollie. We have several old Maxwell House containers that we put our scraps in.

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  2. Like best about composting - Together with recycling, composting allows us to have the smallest bag of trash on our block! (Plus, we get the awesome finished compost for our garden.)

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    1. Isn't it fun having next-to-no trash? We love that, too!

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    2. My tip is have a kitchen pail for scraps and then transfer to the large compost pile outside!

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  3. These books look amazing. We have a worm farm and a large compost bin out back. My 3 year old knows what goes where and I love it! I do not have any books on it and would love to win some. Thanks for this great review!!

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    1. Hi Clancy,

      Yes, the books are amazing. Good luck! And welcome to the community :)

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  4. My tip for the house compost container- throw some coffee grinds on it to keep the fruit flies away.

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  5. I like that you use your own scraps to make it!

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  6. No meat in the compost means no e.coli in the garden!

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  7. Keep a list in your kitchen area, either inside the cupboard or elsewhere, stating what you can compost and what you can not compost.

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    1. This is a great idea, Naddez! I'm going to do just that!

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  8. Composting is a great way to reuse instead of trashing everything and filling up your garbage can!

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    1. I love the fact that our trash can is usually only half full when we put it out for weekly pickup!

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  9. Best tip? Well, keep only a small container in the house so you have to take it out regularly.

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    1. I was thinking about that this morning. We have 4 containers and they're full. I just haven't felt like taking them out in the 90+ heat!

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  10. best compost tip is to be sure to keep it airated!

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  11. I like best that we have less waste

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  12. I don't compost, so I can't answer either of these, but I'm currently learning about container composting for my apartment! These books would be awesome for my kiddo to understand what composting is all about, and how cool it can be even in small spaces!

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    1. You might want to try compost tea. That's easy to do indoors.

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  13. The book set sounds amazing!

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  14. I was so excited about the books, I hit send too early, ha! My favorite thing about composting is being able to use food scraps that would otherwise be thrown away.

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  15. Use a kitchen pail for scraps, then add it to the outdoor pile!

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    1. As long as you have a tight lid! I use the large plastic Maxwell House containers, which work perfectly.

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