Tuesday, December 1, 2009

You mean the biggest disaster isn't Groo?

Sergio Aragonés's Groo the Wanderer is a lovable but bumbling barbarian who tends to leave disaster in his wake as he travels from village to village trying to "help". In Hell on Earth it turns out that Groo isn't the biggest disaster to come to the kingdom.
The Locale is and indeterminate time not unlike the Middle Ages, and pollution from the kings weapons' factory leads the risk of global warming as well as imminent war. Groo goes to the weapons factory seeking a job, because the factory manager is scared of Groo he gives him a job bringing bundles down from the roof. Groo, seeking an easier way to to move the bundles, accidentally falls through the roof making an improvised chimney that releases the smoke that until that moment had been clogging the factory and making the workers sick. While the workers are happy that the smoke is no longer inside with them the towns people begin to see and feel the effects of the pollution. The townsfolk are angry about the pollution and demand that the king do something about it. Buco's answer, provided by Groo (of Course), is to build taller chimneys to make the smoke go higher in the air. This solution provided relief for Buco's kingdom but pushed the problem in to the neighboring kingdoms. After investigating the neighboring kingdoms find out what Buco is up to and increase their own weapons production creating more pollution. While the kingdoms are preparing for war the story shifts between Groo ineptly leading an army in search of an enemy that doesn't exist, and the Sage, Groo's logical friend who is wandering the kingdoms trying to persuade the people that the problem is environmental changes not who their king is.
While Hell on Earth is a bit preachy at times about the environmental issues that it tackles it is funny and that is why I think it is important to teach in the classroom. If Groo can figure out that there is a problem with pollution and that littering is bad for the planet than anyone can. Hell on Earth lets you know that anyone can help to clean up the planet.

1 comment:

Alex H. said...

It's great that there is a book that teaches young readers about the environment and how to save our planet. I would definitely use this book to teach students about global warming and how they can contribute to their planet.