Saturday, March 24, 2007

Pee Wee In A Nutshell - Book Review

Pee Wee's Family In a Nutshell (ISBN# 0969788320) is the third installment in the series of children's books written by Larraine Roulston. The series is based on the character Pee Wee Worman – who teaches readers about vermiculture, or composting with worms. Larraine shares a powerful quote from Charles Darwin on the inside cover followed by a statement on the next page where the author makes it clear that she sees compost as "more then a fertilizer, more than a soil conditioner – it is a symbol of continuing life".

Pee Wee's Family In a Nutshell opens with a new song (by Fay Herridge, Sabrina Wall, Sarah Wall and Michael Wall) written for the main character, P.W. Worman. The book begins where the second in the series left off. After reminiscing to his friends about the worm bin where he was born, Pee Wee realized how much he missed his cousins and other dear friends from the past. His new pals noticed his gloomy mood and they set out on another adventure to reunite Pee Wee with his family. Ironically, the worm bin at school needed a caretaker. Nancy and her brother Scott won the contest for the right to care for the bin over the summer and they proudly toted it home right after school. Too tired to anything else for the bin at the moment, they rested it by the backyard apple tree. Suddenly, Vanessa – the magical and beautiful butterfly, visits Nancy, Scott and their friends Mathieu and Naseem one more time. With her special powers, Vanessa shrinks the children down to the size of bugs. Pee Wee was thrilled to visit with his family – and share the adventure with his dear friends - but the compost pile will always be "home" for him.

The book is illustrated by artist Kate Sawatsky, and features curly vines swooping around the pages, back yard scenes, composting ingredients and lots of fruit and flowers.

International Compost Awareness Week occurs in early May every year – this is a perfect time to use the Pee Wee Worman series to read to groups of children at the various events held during this week. Retailing at only $6.95 (Canadian), this paperback book is a bargain for frugal minded educators, parents and caregivers. The final four pages provide a short glossary of composting terms, information on indoor worm bins and outside compost piles and a list of resources including books and websites that will lead readers to much more information on composting.

Larraine Roulston, the author of this series of worm compost books for children, has been involved with Recycling Council of Ontario for a number of years and wrote a newspaper column for 15 years called 'Recycler's Report'. Her series of Pee Wee books has inspired the Recycling Council of Ontario to provide a 30 minute P.W. Worman puppet show that is performed at schools, libraries and environmental fairs. Larraine is a loving and enthusiastic grandmother who hopes to spread knowledge of the benefits and importance of composting.

Be sure to visit Larraine's website:


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