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Book details
  • Genre:JUVENILE FICTION
  • SubGenre:Nature & the Natural World / Environment
  • Language:English
  • Pages:80
  • Format:Hardcover
  • eBook ISBN:9781667834511
  • Hardcover ISBN:9781667834504

Amy and the Tortoise

How Animals Saved the Planet

by John Leben

Book Image Not Available Book Image Not Available
Overview
"Amy and the Tortoise" is an environmental cautionary tale for young readers. Combining vibrant images with compelling storytelling, this book shares our world's bleak future if humanity does not put a lid on global warming. It is illustrated with Leben's surrealistic imagery, tempering the message with the humorous solutions offered by technocrats called bald-headed suiters. Although the content is relevant for all ages, the book is aimed at mid-grade kids to raise awareness of the environmental problems that are plaguing our world. The story of "Amy and the Tortoise" was also produced as a movie by John Leben, the author and illustrator. The movie version is also published at the end of the book as a QR code for readers who would also like to watch the movie.
Description
"Amy and the Tortoise" is an environmental cautionary tale for young readers. Combining vibrant images with compelling storytelling, this book shares our world's bleak future if humanity does not put a lid on global warming. It is illustrated with Leben's surrealistic imagery, tempering the message with the humorous solutions of technocrats called bald-headed suiters. Although the content is relevant for all ages, the book is aimed at mid-grade kids to raise awareness of the environmental problems that are plaguing our world. The story of "Amy and the Tortoise" was also produced as a movie by John Leben, the author and illustrator. The movie version is also published at the end of the book as a QR code for readers who would also like to watch the movie. Amy, a twelve year old girl, lives under a glass dome and sometimes has to wear a gas mask when the elephants let her go outside. Her outside friend is Gus, a grumpy 100 year old tortoise, who barely survived the ravages of global warming in his younger days. Amy narrates Gus's story of environmental disaster when humanity almost destroyed the planet. Gus remembers a worsening environment beset by storms, floods and unbreathable air when technocrats called Bald-Headed Suiters created habitats where people could live. But the Suiters cared little about the planet or the animals that populated it. Their solutions were short-sighted, only focused on the survival of humanity. After the forests burned in the fires of global warming, the Suiters collected the few remaining trees and preserved them under glass domes. They called them Tree Museums. The Suiters did nothing to replant the forests, but, using their Tree Museum technology, they also built villages under giant glass domes. The people survived under the domes, but they felt like prisoners, like the trees in the Tree Museums. With humanity isolated under glass, a funny thing happened... the world began to heal. Humanity, and especially the Bald-Headed Suiters, were like a virus, sickening the planet. The animals, including Gus the tortoise, noticed the change and went to work rebuilding the forests... their homes that were devastated by the fires of global warming. As the new forests grew, the Suiters dreamt of rebuilding their cities and reestablishing their dominance over nature, setting the stage for an epic struggle between the animals and the Suiters. This story, although frightening, is deeply relevant for children. Addressing the climate crisis starts with education and awareness so future generations have the necessary knowledge and resources to come together and save our beautiful planet Earth.
About the author
John Leben's formal training is in Painting. He has earned a BFA in Painting from the University of Illinois (Urbana) and an MFA in Painting from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He was also a scholarship student at the prestigious Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Skowhegan, Maine. He has exhibited widely in the U.S. including shows at the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago's Michael Wyman Gallery, Harris Bank in Chicago and the John Deere World Headquarters in Peoria, Illinois. After a move to Saugatuck, Michigan his work hung in the Grand Rapids Art Museum, Muskegon Museum of Art, Kalamazoo Institute of Art, South Haven Art Center, Lowell Arts Council and the Holland Area Arts Council as well as numerous group shows at galleries and museums around the Midwest. Leben's media production company, Leben Productions, produced hundreds of films and videos for corporate clients and public television, including the hit PBS series Painting on Location with Bob Fagan and numerous documentaries on Michigan topics. John retired his production company in 2010 to focus on his first love, fine art, but he still produces award-winning movies using his digital paintings. His movie version of "Amy and the Tortoise" has played at film festivals and won awards all over the world and is included for viewing in the book with a QR code link. In recent years Leben has turned to the computer as his medium of choice, exhibiting widely in Michigan, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Missouri, Florida, Colorado, Wisconsin and Nebraska. His award-winning Environmental Series has won wide acclaim warning about the dangers of global warming and the unintended consequences of the rash pursuit of technological solutions to global problems. Leben resides in Saugatuck Michigan with his wife, Marcia and owns the LebenArt Gallery in nearby Douglas, Michigan.
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Book Reviews

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Reader's Favorite by Asher Syed Amy and the Tortoise: How Animals Saved the Planet by John Leben is a children's picture book narrated by the titular character, a young girl named Amy, who tells us how Earth was destroyed by humans and ultimately resurrected by animals. The book begins with Amy introducing the reader to how the people of the planet live at the time of her telling. Homes are built under glass cloches with manufactured air pumped in, allowing humans to live without gas masks. Amy then recounts how this came to be, describing the methods employed by an elite group of “Technocrats” who convinced people they had solutions to survival in the face of crippling pollution, global warming, and the destruction of the Earth's natural resources. Each method employed damages the world more, until one day people are forced into the cloches and the animals work to repair the ravaged planet.

John Leben presents a striking story with Amy and the Tortoise, balancing between digital artwork and the book's narrative. The art is absolutely stunning and among the best visuals I have seen in a children's book that puts an apocalyptic way of living front and center in the eyes of its readers. Leben sugar-coats nothing and, as a parent, I am grateful for that. The Technocrats with their bald heads and Burberry-style trench coats move from one ridiculous idea to the next and we witness homes being built in nests, trees, blimps, and hot air balloons to reach clean air. The color palette is muted and the pollution is palpable, practically leaping from the page. What could possibly be more terrifying than seeing a child in a gas mask and living in a glass cage? The resolution shows exactly how the removal of humans leads to restoration and healing, leaving no doubt whatsoever that we are the problem. My daughter loved this book so much that when I came back to check on her hours after bedtime, she was reading it again for the umpteenth time. Very, very highly recommended. Read more
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