Sandy's Incredible Shrinking Footprint

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Your footprint is more than the mark you leave in the sand

Sandy loves the beach by her grandpa’s house. But this day her walk is ruined by a pile of garbage. The arrival of the “Garbage Lady” inspires her, as she explains everyone has an ecological footprint and it is their responsibility to shrink it.

Praise & Recognition

A great tool for engaging students in issues of environmental responsibility. CM Magazine
...introduces the "footprint" concept...This cheerfully didactic tale is more concerned with behaviour than explanation, but among preschoolers it might make a good precursor to The Smash! Smash! Truck. It has the further credential of upholding its own values: all the illustrations are made from recycled and natural materials. Toronto Star
Steele-Card's layered constructions, made from recycled and natural materials, are eye-catching. Publisher's Weekly
Do-Gooders Done Well: Themes of ecology and entrepreneurship make for surprisingly effective picture books...The other challenge is to avoid the message that responsible ecological behaviour involves nothing but dreary admonitions. On this score, the book does a fine job in conveying the beauty, energy, and joy of the natural world, aided in no small part by its images...Text and images come together beautifully in the final scene, in which Sandy “got up and danced ever so gently around the room on her very small tippy toes.” The idea of dancing gently around the room that is our world is a lovely extension of the footprint metaphor. Quill & Quire
Sandy’s Incredible Shrinking Footprint is a wonderful eco-book that teaches kids and adults a variety of ways in which we all can shrink our footprint on the earth...Brilliantly colorful multimedia (recycled materials) collage illustrations underline the message of Sandy’s Incredible Shrinking Footprint. The Midwest Book Review
By exploring the impact of a pile of garbage on a pristine seashore, this picture book engages readers in thinking about all the choices they make every day and their impact on the environment...Nature is very much alive in this picture book! The contrasting colours and textures represented in the various collages add dimension and interest as well as visual appeal to the story...The text of this picture book is very well suited for young readers. The vocabulary is simple and easy to understand. Sandy’s Incredible Shrinking Footprint also has great potential as a read-aloud. The beautifully written descriptions will intrigue young readers...The addition of a list of “Ways to Shrink Our Footprints” will inspire readers to begin the process of shrinking their own footprints! Highly Recommended. CM Review of Materials
The authors of this book, Femida Handy and Carole Carpenter, are exceptionally qualified to present environmental issues to young readers... Handy and Carpenter treat the topic in a fun and informative way, never dashing off into radicalism and always keeping the important points simple and engaging. The footprint metaphor is easily comprehensible...Sandy is an excellent child protagonist—she is genuinely enthusiastic about the environment and has a good deal of agency in this short book... Steele-Card’s images are bright and beautiful, textured, and, frankly, adorable...Sandy’s Incredible Shrinking Footprint, on the other hand, uses its power as media to present a humanitarian issue in an apolitical, morally reasonable light. The most attractive thing about it is the common sense. There’s no brainwashing, no greenwashing—simply a story about the importance of being a considerate person. Counterpoise
Fittingly, the illustrations feature art that's made from recycled and natural materials...makes a strong case for kids as crusaders in caring for the Earth. School Library Journal
Sandy's Incredible Shrinking Footprint by Toronto authors Fermida Hardy and Carole Carpenter (Second Story Press, 24 pages, $16 hardcover) attempts to teach ecological responsibility in the story of a child helping pick up litter from a beach. ...The most impressive thing about this picture book, however, is the illustrations, by Ontario's Adrianna Steele-Card. With recycled and natural materials, they are colourful collages, bright and fun, full of unexpected elements. Winnipeg Free Press
The most impressive thing about this picture book, however, is the illustrations, by Ontario's Adrianna Steele-Card. With recycled and natural materials, they are colourful collages, bright and fun, full of unexpected elements. Winnipeg Free Press
The medium is at least part of the message in this book...The book’s very appealing illustrations...visible proof that aesthetics need not be jettisoned when we talk about reducing, reusing and recycling. And the message? It’s gently and judiciously contained in a story about a girl called Sandy who discovers that the paradise that is the beach surrounding her grandfather’s cottage has been defiled by some careless picnickers’ garbage...A list of eminently doable ways to shrink our footprints completes this book. The Globe and Mail
This charming picture book tells the story of how Sandy learns the meaning of “footprint” in the ecological sense, and determines to shrink her own footprint by reusing, recycling and reducing...The illustrations are collages of natural and recycled materials, which could inspire the integration of art and science units in the classroom. Canadian Teacher Magazine
Sandy’s Incredible Shrinking Footprint stands in a category of its own as an innovative and thought-provoking introduction to environmental responsibility...This collage technique not only drives home the 3 Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) but also creates a book where nature literally lives within the pages, resulting in a textural, dimensional and very personal work of art for each young reader... Graphic Arts Magazine
This book is simple, clear and not preachy. The illustrations give life to the story, and provide some clues for developing knowledge beyond the literal. For example, the pictures of the earth clearly illustrate what can happen to the earth if we don't take care of it, and what will happen if we do. Children can see and understand this. Non-Toxic Kids children have become more aware of how their actions affect our earth. The illustrations were captivating because they were made from recycled and natural materials. We tried to figure out what materials were used and were pleasantly surprised to see pressed rose petal as one. Library of Clean Reads blog
The book does what it aims to do: spread an important ecological message and be a good learning tool. Resource Links
With great tips in the back of the book for sharing other "Ways to Shrink Our Footprints," this book is a great resource to use on Earth Day (or any day.) Kutztown University Book Review
A Top 5 Green Picture Book for Kids. Follows an engaging, pig-tailed main character as she learns to clean up her local, favourite beach and as she learns about responsible individual action. Green Parenthood Blog
What makes this book different and quite remarkable, not to mention true to its message, are the illustrations, which are entirely done with recycled and natural materials – bits of paper, fluff, fabric, newsprint. They remind the reader of the detailed workmanship that is put into Barbara Reid’s Plasticine illustrations. ETFO Voice
I love this book!...First of all, the message is a very good one for kids to start learning at a young age, but the illustrator really takes the idea of reusing and recycling to a whole new level. All the pictures are made out of little papers, fibres, and other materials. Making the pictures this way really added a whole new level of awareness and sensibilty to the story that was enjoyable. Suddenly Books

The Canadian Children's Book Centre's "Best Books for Kids and Teens 2011" List 2011 - Commended


Publication Date: March 1, 2010

Reading Age: 6 - 8

Genre: Picture Book

Product Format: Default Title

Pages: 24

ISBN: 978-1-897187-69-2

Weight: 300

About the Author

Femida Handy

Femida Handy, a professor of Environmental Studies, began using the term “ecological footprint” in the 1990s. She realized how easily the idea could be taught to children after making up stories for her own children using the idea of footprints on the beach. She is both a professor at York University and at the University of Pennsylvania.
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About the Author

Carole Carpenter

Carole Carpenter established the world’s first Children’s Studies program in 2006 at York University in Toronto. The program aims to teach people how to listen to children, to learn from them and to work in their best interests. Carole continues as a professor and coordinator of the pioneering program in Toronto, where she makes her home.
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About the Illustrator

Adrianna Steele-Card

Adrianna Steele-Card has her own unique form of collage art. She has chosen to use materials that are a combination of natural and recycled items, highlighted by paints and fibers. If you look closely you will find a host of surprising materials in her art. She lives and works in the woods of Lanark Highlands, Ontario.
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