Thursday, December 8, 2011




Summary: The small town of Ilsip has a huge, stinky problem. The town has no where to put  its garbage. It seems that every person in Ilsip makes more and more trash each day until the issue becomes unbearable. The town decides to get rid of the garbage by putting it on a boat and sending it somewhere else. The barge is sailed by Cap’m Duffy and he sets out with over 3000 pounds of garbage to get rid of. Of course, no one else wants Ilsip’s garbage either, leaving poor Duffy in a smelly pinch. The barge sails all the way down the coast, even down to Belize, but there no place to deposit the trash and Duffy turns around. The amazing illustrations are photos filled with actual trash and clay figures, and they evoke the lesson behind the book.

Citation: Winter, J. (2010) Here comes the garbage barge. Westminster, MD:

Schwartz & Wade Books.

Impression: This was a widely creative book in its illustrations. The actual trash is fun to pore over and attempt to identity. The characters are amazingly detailed and well thought out. I thought the book was imaginative and it was amusing to realize that the story is based on actual events. It really brings home the message of being green in today’s world, especially since this issue happed nearly twenty years ago.


Bates, I. (2010, January). [Book review of Here comes the garbage barge, by J. Winter]. School Library

Journal, 84. Available from  School Library Journal website:

A fictionalized account of real events that occurred in 1987, this story will convince young readers to take their recycling efforts more seriously. When Islip, NY, has nowhere to put 3168 tons of garbage, the town officials decide that shipping them south is the right thing to do, so a tugboat towing a garbage-laden barge takes it to North Carolina. But North Carolina won't allow the vessel to dock. It goes on to New Orleans, but again is denied harbor rights. Then it is on to Mexico, Belize, Texas, Florida, and back to New York. The garbage is ripening all along the way. Now even Islip refuses to take it back. Finally a judge orders Brooklyn to take it and incinerate it, 162 days after the barge started its journey. Islip is ordered to take the remains to their landfill. The illustrations are photographs of objects made from garbage. The people, full of personality and expression, were made from polymer clay, and wire, wood scraps, and leftover materials of all kinds were used for the tugboat and barge. The inside of the paper jacket explains how the art was done. This title should be a part of every elementary school ecology unit.

Uses: Of course, this book would be a great addition to any program on environmentalism and being green. Students could make a list of everything they had thrown in the trash for one day and see the reality of how much it is. I also think that this book could be used in an event about different illustration styles for picture books. Kids could see everything from watercolors, to collages, to these photographs. Then the children could create their own illustrations in whatever style they chose.

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