Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Paper Bag Prince

The Paper Bag Prince

Colin Thompson
Picture Book
For ages 5 to 8
Random House UK, 1994   ISBN: 978-0099933205

Every day an old man would come to the town dump. Every day he would see the piles and piles of rubbish that the trucks brought to the dump. And every day the old man went through the rubbish, sorting it and trying to make the place look less ugly, for it was very ugly with its piles of smashed up cars, the metal drums oozing poison onto the ground, the old discarded radios, television sets and video recorders.

And yet, under and among this dreadful mess there were plants and animals who had made the dump their home. The animals all knew the old man and trusted him. When he sat in his chair in front of an old van they would come out and spend time with him.

The one day a lady from the council told the old man that the dump was not going to be used any more and that he could have his land back. All these years the old man had watched the trucks dumping garbage on what had once been his farm land. Now it was his once again and he decided to reclaim it.

With its message of hope Colin Thompson’s moving story will delight young readers with its intricate art work full of delightful and sometimes funny details. Even the most dreadful place can eventually be reclaimed by Mother Nature, her plants and her animals, if it is given a chance and with a little help. Readers may find themselves thinking about how much trash they generate and how they might do something to prevent other places being taken over by the trash that we create.