Here Comes the Garbage Barge! by Jonah Winter and illustrations by Red Nose Studio
On a blazing summer's day, there's nothing quite like the aroma of piping hot...garbage. It's gross, slimy, and we each make about four pounds of it per day. The one thing that everyone can agree on is that no one wants to deal with garbage, and that notion is exactly what Here Comes the Garbage Barge! is all about.
In 1987, over 3,000 tons of Long Island, New York's garbage was loaded onto a barge and pulled by the tugboat Break of Dawn. The plan was to unload the cargo in North Carolina, where poor farmers had been paid to bury the waste. But when the barge and its captain arrived, they met a police boat which refused to let them dock there under any circumstances. So began a wild goose chase up and down the coast to find a place to store the disgusting floating dump.
New Orleans, Mexico, Belize, wherever they go, they are asked to leave. What we are left with is the grimiest East Coast travel cruise you ever did see. I can just imagine the tour guide, "On your left we have the majesty of Florida's beaches! And if you look behind you, you'll see a hideous mountain of trash...slowly following you."
Believe it or not, the pictures in this book are absolutely stunning. Red Nose Studio makes and photographs clay figurines for magazines and stop motion films. Every page in this book is a miniaturized set, recycled from all sorts of junk. Plastic bags, broken toys, and old clothing are all transformed into art. The human characters have a wonderfully askew look, and the fact that the studio set up and photographed every shot makes it look like the entire page is about to spring to life. You can almost smell the trash!
Thankfully the Break of Dawn found a solution to its garbage problem, but it took over six months and a court-ordered decision to set things right. Author Jonah Winter stresses that part of what can help avoid unneccesary events like this one is by recycling whatever we can. Winter and Red Nose Studio have managed to pack a good message into a delightfully funny, true adventure. Go ahead, bring a Garbage Barge into your home today.