Click to order now!The Wartville Wizard

TheWartvilleWizardBy Don Madden

When a fellow spends so much of his time picking up litter (and mumbling “slobs” under his breath), Mother Nature takes pity on the guy. Suddenly he has a wizardly ability: just by pointing to the litter, it flies through the air and sticks to the litterers! Hilarity ensues when the entire community has gum wrappers sticking out their ears or a candy wrapper stuck to their cheeks.

When the doctor has no response (even to those gum wrappers in his ears), folks wonder what is going on. Finally a girl spies the Wizard in action. What will they do to get him to stop his wizardly ways? What can he do to get them to stop littering?

This book is guaranteed to provoke laughter and ideas to reduce both litter and waste. What can kids do? As a teen, Devora Kaye, author of Conversation Starters and Increase the Peace, liked reading this book aloud to young children with a bag of (clean) litter or trash. As she read, Devora would stick (with tape) the trash to the children and their teacher. Kids always wanted to be covered! Then with partners, children used the trash to design posters to advocate and remind people about reduce, reuse, recycle and always avoid littering (litter usually ends up in the storm drains for a free ride to our waterways).

Other kids and teens have written a play version of The Wartville Wizard to teach these important lessons to their own community. In an interview found in its entirety in The Complete Guide to Service Learning, Don Madden shared the story behind the story, claiming, “I am actually ‘the Wartville Wizard.’ My home is situated on a road halfway between two fast-food restaurants. When I wrote the book in the early 1980s, people would eat and drive, and they would arrive in front of my driveway as they were finishing their meal. I got really fed up with their trash coming right out the window, landing on my front yard, and cluttering up the roadway. How dare they throw their trash! That really lit my fuse. So I had the idea that all the trash should go back and stick to them. That’s what happens in the book. Kids like the illustrations; their favorite seems to be the one with the woman who has a filled trash bag stuck to her backside.

“I would like kids to come away with a feeling of taking care of the environment. I always enjoy hearing about kids getting involved and doing something to help out. I am actually a humanist and that’s the message of humanism—to look out for each other. That will make things better for everyone.

“The Wartville Wizard would definitely advocate taking care of the world we live in. It’s the only one we’ve got! So do your part to make this world a better place.”

Picture book for all ages

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