Center for Children's Literature Blog

Children’s Book Committee – March 2021 Pick

Written by Jonah Winter and illustrated by Jeanette Winter

Simple, poetic text describes how humans’ extraction and use of oil, particularly the Exxon Valdez disaster, have impacted flora and fauna. Textured illustrations. Author’s note.

Our Young Reviewer Says:

Oil is an illustrated book written by Jonah Winter and illustrated by Jeanette Winter. It tells how oil is pumped up from deep underground and runs through pipelines that cross 800 miles of Alaskan wilderness, to ports and then onto ships. Its pictures show tundra plants, caribou and native people, but most of all the dark pipeline stands out. Then it tells the story of the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

The illustrations show the thick black oil spreading in dark streaks across the water, killing thousands of animals, poisoning the water, blackening rocks that had been clean for millions of years and furthering climate change. In the author’s note the author gives readers more facts on the Exxon Valdez spill and other oil spoils. Then it talks about how oil is very bad for the planet and how it is a cause of climate change.

Oil is an amazing picture book that gives a powerful message to readers saying that oil is harming the planet and is a cause of climate change which, (if we don’t stop it) will make this planet uninhabitable. Oil is a beautiful book and it is best if readers are older than 8.

–Hugh, 10, The Bronx, NY.

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See our Monthly Picks Archive 2012–2018, and our Monthly Picks 2019–present.