Review Detail

4.3 1
Young Adult Fiction 5244
Giving the Environmental Genre What It Needs
Overall rating
Writing Style
After watching “FernGully” and “The Lorax” (which I love by the way) I thought I’d had my fill of environmental themed pop culture. It seems that all environmental themed children’s work sends the message that we should save the trees. This is a message that I completely agree with, and I’m all for being green and sustainable. But eventually you can get tired of a message that’s delivered to you over and over again. I recycle, I get it. So when I saw “Rootless” by Chris Howard I was crazy intrigued, but worried that it might fall on the same sword that every other environmental themed work falls on. Boy was I wrong.

“Rootless” follows Banyan, a 17 year-old boy who builds trees from scrap metal. After trees have been decimated by a ravenous species of locusts, scrap metal trees are all that people can hope for in terms of nature. When Banyan sees a picture of his father chained to a real tree, he knows that someone is hiding the location of actual nature from the people of Earth. “Rootless” is Banyan’s journey as he tries to find his dad and the real forests that he knows in his heart exist.

The beauty of “Rootless” is that the main character is not the trees. Things like “FernGully” and “The Lorax” are all about the trees, the trees, but let’s be honest, it’s hard to connect with a tree as a character. While I appreciate their beauty and what they offer to our planet, I ain’t about to root for an emotionless tree to beat the bad guy. I am, however, able to connect to a protagonist who laments never being able to experience firsthand the wonders nature can provide. I am able to connect with a kid who feels he’s been cheated from what his planet was meant to offer. “Rootless” makes the people the focus of the environmental message and what they are losing with an environment that has been decimated. Again, please don’t think I am lacking in an emotional connection to nature, it’s just that it’s so much more intriguing when I get to follow a person rather than a plant. Big thanks to Chris Howard for giving the environmental genre what it has been seriously lacking.
Good Points
Not your average environmental message.
Beautiful forests that are completely made of metal.
A take on a futuristic world that doesn't seem tired.
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