Nibbles: a green tale
by Charlotte Middleton
There is only one thing Nibbles the guinea pig loves more than soccer: dandelion leaves! Everyone in the town of Dandeville loves dandelion leaves just as much as Nibbles. So what is a guinea pig to do when the population of dandelion leaves dwindles down to almost nothing? Pay lots of money for just a few leaves? Eat cabbage instead? Cabbage-and-broccoli quiche just doesn’t have the same delicious ring to it…
The day Nibbles discovers one last dandelion leaf outside his window, he must make a very important decision. Should he eat it all by himself? Or should he think a little harder? Nibbles goes to the library and finds information about dandelions. He shields the dandelion, waters it, and picks off bad bugs. He is so patient that even when his dandelion is perfectly blooming, he doesn’t eat it. Instead, when the dandelion goes to seed, he climbs the highest hill and blows the seeds out across Dandeville. Soon, fresh leaves begin to sprout and the sound of eating again fills the town. But does Nibbles go back to life as normal, or does he try something new?
Nibbles deals with sustainability through brief looks at economics (the price of dandelions goes through the roof when the number dwindles), social justice (Nibbles finds a solution that works to provide food to all guinea pigs), and the environment (Nibbles protects the plant so it can go to seed and grow again).
Students can look at resources in their local community and environment, and think about ways to protect those resources for others in the future. For younger students, taking care of trees or gardens, growing food for others, and exploring the role of farmers would help bring the idea from book to practice. Nibbles is one “person” who makes a big difference by doing the responsible thing.
Older students can expand upon the intersections between environment, economy, and social justice, and explore those relationships further by looking at fuel consumption, mining, and practices that utilize our natural resources. How does the cost of dandelions change when supplies dwindle? How can we make sure to plan our resources for future use? What happens if the cost of heating homes sky-rockets and not everyone can afford it?
So – how can we best take care of our last remaining “dandelions?” This book gives a few answers, but an even bigger opportunity for conversations.