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Just a Dream is about a young boy named Walter, who discovers that his wasteful ways will affect his future. The book introduces readers to a careless boy who tosses rubbish on the grass, thinks recycling is a waste of time and mocks his neighbour, Rose, for her delight in the tree she has just received for her birthday. Walter longs to live in the future, which he imagines to be full of robots, tiny personal planes, and machines that make life easier. One night when he falls asleep, his wish to live in the future comes true. However, his dreams carry him into a future not filled with the robots and machines he believes will make life better, but instead ravaged by the past careless mistakes. While he sleeps, Walter travels to many places that show him possible dreadful versions of the future. When he wakes up, he is a changed boy.
On his birthday, Walter asks for a tree, which is planted near Rose's birthday tree. When he falls asleep that night, he dreams of the future again. In this dream, he is shown a different version instead of a world of robots and machines, laundry hangs on the line, a man mows his lawn with a motorless mower, and Walter is delighted to see that the two little trees have grown tall and healthy in the clean air.
This book can be used as an introduction and engaging component of an environmental study connected to science and language arts lessons. The theme of the story is a great discussion starter and a call to action. It is also the perfect addition to a unit on recycling and if teaching about endangered animals. The actions of one child can have an effect on his future, and students can look at Walter’s actions and see how they compare.
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