Summary: Grade 1 Up-- A mother, holding her newborn son, gazes out the window of his room at lush vegetation, tropical birds, a pond, a kangaroo. Ten double-page illustrations following show the development--during a 20-year period--of the area outside the window. As Sam (the baby) grows older, the land is cleared, a road is built, then a farm. A housing development goes up, then takes over a hill that was once green with lush growth. Development becomes suburb, then city, complete with billboards, high-rises, noise pollution, litter, and overpopulation. Sam marries and moves to a new house in the country, where the final window scene shows him, holding his baby, staring at a sign announcing, "House Blocks For Sale". Words are unnecessary, as Baker's carefully rendered collage scenes explicitly detail the situation. Varying symbolic objects on Sam's windowsill (and the cracking and peeling of paint on the wall) add to the book's message. Baker's meticulous collages, formed from natural materials, clay, fabric, and real hair, are so detailed that they require many viewings. A final, short author's note explains the inspiration for the book: ". . .by understanding and changing the way we personally affect the environment, we can make a difference." This unusual, exceptionally well-crafted picture book might be a good way to begin. --Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Curricular Connections: This text can be used in a science classroom where students study the effect of development on indigenous ecosystems. It is a crucial outlook and environmental perspective that should be support with today's youth.