In a singular first children’s book, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Ted Kooser follows a plastic bag on its capricious journey from a landfill into a series of townspeople’s lives. (Ages 5-8)
One cold morning in early spring, a bulldozer pushes a pile of garbage around a landfill and uncovers an empty plastic bag — a perfectly good bag, the color of the skin of a yellow onion, with two holes for handles — that someone has thrown away. Just then, a puff of wind lifts the rolling, flapping bag over a chain-link fence and into the lives of several townsfolk — a can-collecting girl, a homeless man, a store owner — not that all of them notice. Renowned poet Ted Kooser fashions an understated yet compassionate world full of happenstance and connection, neglect and care, all perfectly expressed in Barry Root’s tender illustrations. True to the book’s earth-friendly spirit, it is printed on paper containing 100 percent recycled post-consumer waste and includes an author’s note on recycling plastic bags.
The exquisitely observed narrative renders the American landscape’s dubious symbiosis—nominally natural, persistently industrial—worthy of a child’s attention. . . . Root’s gouache-and-watercolor pictures, suffused with the pale gold light of early-spring dawns, capture the injured land, its quirky denizens and the bag’s familiar—well—bagginess. Wonderful. —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)