Moles Present the Natural Tolls of Digging Holes

Page Street Kids. Oct. 2021. 32p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781645672876.
K-Gr 2–Badger’s picture book debut has a well-intentioned message: Some excavation is good, much is ecologically bad. Tiny cute cartoon-like moles operate diggers; poop into pipes; rise from the cemetery, becoming minute zombies; hunker in a nuclear bunker. But uncertain prosody undermines the rhythm, and strained rhymes produce vague phrases: Are we worried that the future “may not be kind,” or that it will be absolutely unlivable? Does an oil spill at sea merely “cause a commotion”? The conclusion is especially problematic: An urban setting is shown as polluted (though environmentalists advocate human density as preferable to sprawl), while beneath a garden scene the text urges that “With the help of all the moles/ let’s make something more than holes.” The busy underground cross-sections, borrowing from ant farms, dictate one-on-one reading.
VERDICT Maze-crazy readers will like tracing the excavations, though adult environmentalists might well fault the overall product for the lack of message, which leaves readers without specific steps or solutions.

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