The Econuts is a group of five children who are concerned about their environment. The Green World series are a set of five books with an environment troubling mystery to be solved by the Econuts. Dewy is passionate about water, she loves the sight and sound of clean water. Woosh is worried about the air quality in the atmosphere. Pebbles is an Earth Champion and he wants to recycle things. Plants, trees are comfort and love for Petals. Waggy’s prime aim is to care for animals.
The five books have a pattern of the story and resemble a TV cartoon series. I visited ‘Mickey Mouse Clubhouse’ from my memory lane where the characters in each episode have an agenda to use the tools for the day. I would eagerly wait for situations that are created in their day to apply those objects which were present for the day. The show and the book alike are made to ignite the child’s interactiveness as in addition to the stories the series is also a collection of activity books.
These children solve a mystery in each book of the Green World series:The Mystery of the Weird Noise, The Mystery of the Grey Cloud, The Mystery of the Lost Waterfall, The Mystery of the Plastic Rings, and The Mystery of the Paw Prints. Keen observation, and research are the two tools that these children rely on to solve mysteries. Research of resources are through newspapers, library books, and Internet. In addition to being environmental detectives they act as environmental activists too explaining to their neighbours about the problem and that is how the mystery really demystifies.
Activities supplement the story from page to page. The author, Sonia Mehta, is a co-founder of a children’s edutainment retail brand. The idea of learning while playing is set at the root in these books. There is an attempt through Econuts to make child readers aware of the environmental issues and its solutions. Illustrations with soothing and yet colourful images are used. The activities for young readers feed to the visual and linguistic cognition of the intended child reader. These include thinking of rhyming words, solving crosswords in the context to the story. Another is finding differences in two pictures which is an exercise that helps in training the eye for noticing details.
Story and activity content are laid out in the books thoughtfully. It is arranged according to the appropriateness of the developmental stages and making use of Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences. The book also mentions that it is best suited for children of ages six plus. However, I feel this series would cater to a particular class group of audience from the outlook presented through price, the setting of the characters of the story and the kind of illustrations that indicate it.
The story overall falls short of connecting to the reader from any setting. The connect that could arise out of compassion for the character(s) and excitement towards the action happening in the story is missing. The story does try to reach out to the emotions that a reader would engage in while reading the books. It comes out as a good package for occupying young language learners in activities and not an interesting story per say.
Manika Kukreja has an MA in Education with focus in Early Childhood Education and special interest in courses about sustainable and environment friendly living. She enjoys listening to stories very much and has started working in this domain area with Eklavya Foundation.