Mr. King's Things
Mr. King is a cat who likes new things. In fact, “LOTS of new things. As soon as one of his things becomes the tiniest bit old, he tosses it into the nearby pond and replaces it with a new one.” Happily, this works just fine for a while. But then one day while attempting to fish in this same pond, Mr. King is terrified when he pulls up what he believes is a gigantic monster. Only it turns out it's not a monster at all. It's a tangle of his own discarded things, come back to scare him!
Geneviève Côté has created a terrific introduction to the causes and effects of pollution and overconsumption with this lively and funny picture book. As with so many big ideas, the environmental message here is quite simple and easy to understand when explained at a child's-eye view. The story is gentle, humorous and not at all preachy, and the artwork is clean and open, with most of the visual focus on Mr. King and his range of intense emotions. The ways Mr. King finds to repurpose all of his resurrected things at the end of the book could inspire all kinds of classroom discussions about what efforts children might make to recycle their things for other people or other uses, as well as how not to waste things in general. It could also work as a jumping-off point for a project turning children's found objects into their own works of art.