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Christopher’s Bicycle by Charlotte Middleton is one of a series of beautifully illustrated picture books about a guinea pig called Christopher Nibble.

The Christopher Nibble books are heavily focussed on environmentalism and recycling. I usually find books like this rather too worthy, and much more about banging on about the message rather than entertaining children with a fantastic story in which the message is subtly shoved into young minds.

The Christopher Nibble series does a lot to address the balance between story and message here, and I find them quite nice to read to children. They’re not terribly exciting stories and they’re not going to set the world on fire, but they are rather sweet, and the illustrations really do make the books. ¬†Christopher’s droopy whiskers and hang dog expression really do it for me.

In this story, Christopher gets a recycled bicycle from his parents. He uses the basket on the front of his bike to collect old newspapers and jars from his friends in the town of Dandeville, and then takes them home to repurpose them, redelivering them as gifts, and inspiring the town to recycle.

This book is an excellent way of introducing very young children to the idea that recycling can be quite fun, and not just about endless trips to the rubbish dump or washing out yogurt cartons. Christopher is a winsome, likeable character who is interesting enough in what he does to appeal to little boys, and cute enough to appeal to little girls.

I also liked the fact that the book was full of ideas of things that you could do as a class or with your child at home to recycle and become more green.

Recommended for children between the ages of 4 and 6.

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