Summary of Trashy Town:
Mr. Gilly drives around town doing an important job: collecting trash. As he goes to various places in the community—the school, the pizza parlor, the park, the doctor’s office, and the fire station—the following fun, rhythmic refrain is recited:
Dump it in,
smash it down,
the Trashy Town!
Then, the question is posed: “Is the trash truck full yet?” Each time (except for the final one) the answer is “No. Mr. Gilly drives on.” The narrative ends with Mr. Gilly depositing the trash into the dump where “up, up, up goes the truck. Down, down, down goes the trash.” When he is done ridding the town of all its trash, he goes home where he cleans himself up.
Youngsters will love the catchy repetition and opportunities for interaction in Andrea Zimmerman’s Trashy Town. Younger children can respond to the question at each stop and anticipate where Mr. Gilly will go next. Older children can recite the chant along with adult readers. The appealing illustrations (by Dan Yaccarino) are created with simple shapes and a coherent color scheme (blues, reds, neutrals). For added fun, there are two little grey mice on each page. Mr. Gilly’s amiable smile and hard-working behavior provide a positive view of this community helper. The text and illustrations emulate a sense of pride and satisfaction in a job well done. Trashy Town is good, clean fun that children ages 2-7 will enjoy experiencing over and over again.
- Choral Reading: Recite the repetitive stanza and question/answer together.
- Community Helpers—Add to a unity study of community helpers or transportation. Even though being a trashman is far from glamorous, it is an essential job in the community. Children can learn to appreciate their important contribution as well as where the trash ultimately goes.
- Environmental Science: The story provides an opportunity for action! If all the trash is being dumped in our environment, what can we do to limit what we discard? Discuss recycling and composting along with ways to limit individual trash output.
- Character Education: Mr. Gilly has a smile on his face and a cheerful attitude. He epitomizes what it looks like to have joyful heart no matter what job you are doing. Children can be reminded of the importance of doing their jobs or chores with a happy heart.
- Creative Movement/Physical Education: Around an open area (gym, playground, field), place “trash” all around. This can be real (paper balls, food boxes, beverage containers) or fake items (small balls, cones, athletic equipment). Have the children in small groups first collect it into smaller containers. Then, dump into a larger one. The first group with a full large container wins.
- Music: Pick a tune familiar to the students. Write original lyrics together teaching others about littering or recycling.
- Art: Use trash items (bottle caps, newspaper, shoe boxes, wire bits, old magazines) to create an original work of art.
- Writing: As a class, write a thank you note to local trash men, thanking them for their essential community service. Teach and demonstrate the parts of a friendly letter.