ISBN 0740777467 - As an adult who grew up with parents who were recyclers and early Earth Day supporters, there's little in this book that adds something new to my world. BUT, as an adult who'd like more parents to do what my parents did for me, this is one fine tool. I've owned a copy since the 1990s and appreciate updates.
Beginning with a section titled "What's Happening" that lays out some large-scale things that need to be done to save the earth, this book is recruiting kids immediately by explaining things in simple language. The book is broken into sections (Preserving Our Oceans, Rivers, Lakes and Streams; Using Energy Wisely, etc), those sections are broken into subsections (Get a Charge from Batteries, Unplug It!, etc) and those subsections are broken into smaller pieces (Did You Know, What You Can Do, Amaze Your Friends, See for Yourself, a general pattern followed under each subsection). Most of the book is written in bullet-points, keeping things concise and simple. From recycling water bottles to starting or joining an environmental group, 50 Simple Things covers everything. There are Eco-Experiments and quizzes in the back of the book.
There's a group of people who believe Climate Change is natural and there's nothing we can do about it. No matter what you believe, there are things that every parent will agree on - this isn't about Climate Change, it's about doing what's right. We want better for our kids, a safer world, an easier life and better opportunities. We want our kids to treat things with respect, from their 300 dollar videogame systems and their 400 dollar cell phones to priceless people and property. Setting that tone is difficult, sometimes. Littering is easy, respecting the property you're about to litter ON is harder. 50 Simple Things gives parents an easy to use tool that will help reinforce many of the things we want to teach anyway, but does it in ways that reduces "Save the Planet" to simple steps that any child can follow. Teach your child to be Superman / Superwoman - they'll love the idea, the planet will appreciate their impact.
The text is well-written, and easy to read; breaking it down into small pieces will help reluctant readers get through. The website links will become outdated, a small (and unavoidable) negative. This is, by no means, a book to read straight through, but an excellent book to refer to regularly. The lack of an index is made up for with a detailed Table of Contents. The illustrations are simple black and white drawings and don't add anything, or take away anything. The pages, of course, are printed on 40% recycled paper - with soy ink, too! - and the book carries the SFI (Sustainable Forest Initiative) label, setting a good example for everyone.