Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Dumpster Diver by Janet Wong and David Roberts - review

The endpapers of The Dumpster Diver by Janet Wong are illustrated (by the awesome David Roberts) with a dense print of cartoon beetles and roaches, and it just gets better from there.

A bunch of neighborhood children assist Steve the Electrician in his hunt for trash-picked treasure. Then, using hand tools and the power of imagination, they transform blenders into lava lamps, lamps into tables, and "an old table plus two banged-up skateboards plus a ripped crib mattress plus a hand-held shower plus thirty-two screws and a roll of duct tape" into... well, you'd pretty much have to ask my six-year-old, who uses anything he can find in the back yard to make, um, I think space stations and shipyards.

I have got to read this book with that boy, to make up for the times I have come upon his creative re-use of all our bungee cords, coolers and garden stakes to make a interplanetary rat-trap, and gone all mental on him.

I often say that picture books make terrific gifts for adults. I'll give Mahalia Mouse Goes to College to our family's recent high school graduate. The Un-Wedding goes to anyone who gets divorced, and I need a copy of Miss Spider's Wedding for a friend who just got engaged. The Dumpster Diver is now totally on my list, for those innovative friends who give a giant lighted plastic goose a second life, who spend years rehabbing the VW bug; the people who find a cardboard box and half a yard of fake fur and see a giant puppet.

Love you guys.

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