Review of The Last Plastic Straw: A Plastic Problem and Finding Ways to Fix It

The Last Plastic Straw: A Plastic Problem and Finding Ways to Fix It [Books for a Better Earth]The Last Plastic Straw: A Plastic Problem and Finding Ways to Fix It [Books for a Better Earth]
by Dee Romito; illus. by Ziyue Chen
Primary    Holiday    40 pp.
2/23    9780823449491    $18.99
e-book ed.  9780823455133    $11.99

A fascinating history of straws morphs into a call to action. The first two-thirds of Romito’s friendly text traces drinking tubes from the ancient Sumerian innovation of drinking beverages using a hollow reed, through many changes in materials and shapes over time, up to the development of the mass-produced plastic ­drinking straw we know today. Chen’s crisp digital illustrations rely on vignettes to showcase the variety of materials tried, the beverages they were designed for, and the people who used them. The straws themselves are front-and-center in the illustrations, giving readers an insightful glimpse into how something familiar has changed over centuries. After the introduction of the plastic straw in the 1960s, Romito moves the focus to the effect of single-use plastics on the environment and a gradual shift in public opinion, with straightforward text identifying alternative materials (and their limitations for medical usage) and emphasizing actions young people can take. An author’s note provides more context; a list of sources offers opportunities “to learn more about plastics and their effect on the environment.”

From the January/February 2023 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Laura Koenig

Laura Koenig is the Team Leader for Central Library Children's Services at the Boston Public Library.

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