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Fiction Picture Book
Pages: 24
Publisher: Second Story Press
Pub Date: 01/Mar/2010
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Sandy loves visiting her grandpa’s house by the beach every summer. But on this day her walk on the beach is ruined when she comes across the garbage left from someone else’s picnic. Sandy is joined by the “Garbage Lady” who helps pick up the mess and explains that everyone has an ecological footprint – the mark they leave on the world – and that it is their responsibility to shrink it. Sandy is so impressed she runs home to tell her family. A wonderful exploration of personal responsibility and the impact of what we consume on the environment, the book ends with a list of everyday actions we can all do to shrink our footprint.

The book is printed on Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified paper and is, fittingly, illustrated with a unique collage technique using recycled and natural materials. If you look closely you will find fish made from leaves, people made out of birch bark, and a host of other surprising materials.

“A great tool for engaging students in issues of environmental responsibility.” – CM Magazine, Feb. 2010

CM Magazine
"By exploring the impact of a pile of garbage on a pristine seashore, this picture book engages readers in thinking about all the choices they make every day and their impact on the environment...Nature is very much alive in this picture book! The contrasting colours and textures represented in the various collages add dimension and interest as well as visual appeal to the story…Highly Recommended."
School Library Journal
"This title makes a strong case for kids as crusaders in caring for the Earth."
Non-Toxic Kids blog
"This book is simple, clear and not preachy. The illustrations give life to the story, and provide some clues of developing knowledge beyond the literal. For example, the pictures of the earth clearly illustrate what can happen to the earth if we don't take care of it, and what will happen if we do."
Counterpoise
"As charming and well-executed the writing is, the illustrations by Adrianna Steele-Card make the book a joy to read."
Library of Clean Reads blog
"At the end of the story, there's a list of 12 things children can do. We discussed each one and why doing them would help take better care of our earth. Later in the week, I overheard my son tell his sister not to let the water run while she brushed her teeth...All this to say my children have become more aware of how their actions affect our earth."
Resource Links
"A great resource for teachers and parents to introduce tactile ways of implementing environmental responsibility...The illustrations are very original and fitting, made from collages of natural and recycled materials, including birch bark, leaves, and other elements of nature. Bright and full of depth, they are also visually appealing."
Toronto Star
...introduces the "footprint" concept...This cheerfully didactic tale is more concerned with behaviour than explanation, but among preschoolers it might make a good precursor to The Smash! Smash! Truck. It has the further credential of upholding its own values: all the illustrations are made from recycled and natural materials.
Publisher's Weekly
Steele-Card's layered constructions, made from recycled and natural materials, are eye-catching.
Quill & Quire
Do-Gooders Done Well: Themes of ecology and entrepreneurship make for surprisingly effective picture books...The other challenge is to avoid the message that responsible ecological behaviour involves nothing but dreary admonitions. On this score, the book does a fine job in conveying the beauty, energy, and joy of the natural world, aided in no small part by its images...Text and images come together beautifully in the final scene, in which Sandy “got up and danced ever so gently around the room on her very small tippy toes.” The idea of dancing gently around the room that is our world is a lovely extension of the footprint metaphor.
The Midwest Book Review
Sandy’s Incredible Shrinking Footprint is a wonderful eco-book that teaches kids and adults a variety of ways in which we all can shrink our footprint on the earth...Brilliantly colorful multimedia (recycled materials) collage illustrations underline the message of Sandy’s Incredible Shrinking Footprint.
CM Review of Materials
By exploring the impact of a pile of garbage on a pristine seashore, this picture book engages readers in thinking about all the choices they make every day and their impact on the environment...Nature is very much alive in this picture book! The contrasting colours and textures represented in the various collages add dimension and interest as well as visual appeal to the story...The text of this picture book is very well suited for young readers. The vocabulary is simple and easy to understand. Sandy’s Incredible Shrinking Footprint also has great potential as a read-aloud. The beautifully written descriptions will intrigue young readers...The addition of a list of “Ways to Shrink Our Footprints” will inspire readers to begin the process of shrinking their own footprints! Highly Recommended.
Winnipeg Free Press
Sandy's Incredible Shrinking Footprint by Toronto authors Fermida Hardy and Carole Carpenter (Second Story Press, 24 pages, $16 hardcover) attempts to teach ecological responsibility in the story of a child helping pick up litter from a beach. ...The most impressive thing about this picture book, however, is the illustrations, by Ontario's Adrianna Steele-Card. With recycled and natural materials, they are colourful collages, bright and fun, full of unexpected elements.
The Globe and Mail
The medium is at least part of the message in this book...The book’s very appealing illustrations...visible proof that aesthetics need not be jettisoned when we talk about reducing, reusing and recycling. And the message? It’s gently and judiciously contained in a story about a girl called Sandy who discovers that the paradise that is the beach surrounding her grandfather’s cottage has been defiled by some careless picnickers’ garbage...A list of eminently doable ways to shrink our footprints completes this book.
Canadian Teacher Magazine
This charming picture book tells the story of how Sandy learns the meaning of “footprint” in the ecological sense, and determines to shrink her own footprint by reusing, recycling and reducing...The illustrations are collages of natural and recycled materials, which could inspire the integration of art and science units in the classroom.
Graphic Arts Magazine
Sandy’s Incredible Shrinking Footprint stands in a category of its own as an innovative and thought-provoking introduction to environmental responsibility...This collage technique not only drives home the 3 Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) but also creates a book where nature literally lives within the pages, resulting in a textural, dimensional and very personal work of art for each young reader...
Kutztown University Book Review
With great tips in the back of the book for sharing other "Ways to Shrink Our Footprints," this book is a great resource to use on Earth Day (or any day.)
Green Parenthood Blog
A Top 5 Green Picture Book for Kids. Follows an engaging, pig-tailed main character as she learns to clean up her local, favourite beach and as she learns about responsible individual action.
Chris Vert, ETFO Voice
What makes this book different and quite remarkable, not to mention true to its message, are the illustrations, which are entirely done with recycled and natural materials – bits of paper, fluff, fabric, newsprint. They remind the reader of the detailed workmanship that is put into Barbara Reid’s Plasticine illustrations.
Suddenly Books
I love this book!...First of all, the message is a very good one for kids to start learning at a young age, but the illustrator really takes the idea of reusing and recycling to a whole new level. All the pictures are made out of little papers, fibres, and other materials. Making the pictures this way really added a whole new level of awareness and sensibilty to the story that was enjoyable.

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The Canadian Children's Book Centre's "Best Books for Kids and Teens 2011" List  | 2011 | Commended

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