How to Turn our Parents Green

Author: James Russell, with illustrations by Øivind Hovland

Pub: Tangent Books

Price: £6.50


I would like to turn my parents green: they leave lights on; their refrigerator is three times the size it needs to be; and they drive absolutely everywhere. Unfortunately, I don’t think James Russell’s How to Turn your Parents Green will help me.

Its target audience, rather, is children, specifically children who have not reached the age when they need to be blasé about everything, who still respond to the language of superhero cartoons and who are old enough to know the art of persuasion.

How to Turn our Parents GreenSo, the book has a very limited market, but in the right hands, it just might do a world of good. It encourages children to be ‘Eco-Warriors’ (not ‘Eco-Worriers’), arms them with facts about the perils of pollution, the perils of wasting water and the problem of plane travel, and sets them forth to banish their parents’ evil ways with ‘Glorious Green Charters’, fines to level on misbehaving grown-ups (‘Groans’) and the knowledge of their own pester power.

Russell offers plenty of information and handy tips conveyed in a fun manner that’s a bit too reliant on puns and alliteration for adult sensibilities but just might illicit the right response from children. The book’s chief weakness is that it requires someone to actually give it to the youngsters. Children normally receive literature from parents, but people who buy this book for their kids will presumably already be green and not require their offspring to turn them so.

My mum would think me more than a bit odd if I started calling her a ‘Grumbly, Grimbly Groan’ and my dad would put the phone down on me if I started to ‘nag, pester, bug, torment and punish’ him. So, perhaps the thing to do is give this book to my niece (my sister could use some greening herself) and hope her ability to ‘pester for the planet’ has an effect on the environmental practices of her parents and grandparents alike.