In Stuff, we journey around the world to learn about the methods and materials used in ecologically friendly products. What’s more, these are everyday products, such as people need or have needed in their daily lives. Therefore, we learn how ancient Polynesians carried ‘seeds of cuttings known as canoe plants’ when they journeyed. Each plant could then be grown to be used anew, from gourds for containers, to turmeric for foodstuffs and cloth dyeing. Then again, we look further to realise how a coconut might provide so many produce from its stem, branches, shell, sap, roots and water.

We’re enchanted by the ingenuity of Kenyan farmers who’ve sought to deter elephants from eating their crops. It seems that hanging beehives on fences works a treat. Not only do the famers and bees benefit from the hives, but elephant collisions with the fences set the bees buzzing. It’s a sound that confuses elephants and leads them to retreat!

There are so many fascinating stories within Stuff, that it’s a book that demands to be read, reread, researched beyond and shared. What’s more, it’s anecdotal pictures from Paul Boston add to its attraction. Bookwagon recommends Stuff highly for home reading, and school purposes too!

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From magic ink to meatless burgers: eco-stories of everyday STUFF

Maddie Moate, illustrated by Paul Boston


Maddie Moate introduces readers to Stuff. These are projects from around the world that aim to create goods we use in our every day life, through ecological means. Therefore, we travel to the Guatemalan hills to read about farmers using ‘plastic bottles stuffed with rubbish‘ as eco bricks! Thereafter, we see how these innovative building blocks have been used in similar ways. It seems a UK school created an ‘outside classroom‘ with ‘3,000 eco- bricks‘. Then again, they’ve been used in our country for ‘wildlife ponds, beach huts and even a long wavy bench that looks like a snake’. 
However, this is only one product! Another is the clay cup of Kolkata created from the riverbeds for roadside masala chai. What’s more, although the cup will be disposed of after use, it will wash back into the river, to be used all over again!
Alongside the products, their uses, innovation, history and ecological efficacy, we are offered a world wide tour. Not only does this offer us an opportunity to realise the wealth of determined creativity, but secures the fact that ecological action is a global cause. Like Youthquake, this title inspires and informs. Bookwagon recommends Stuff to home libraries for reading and sharing, and thereafter for schools, as well.


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