The Dumpster Diver
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The Dumpster Diver

3.69 of 5 stars 3.69  ·  rating details  ·  155 ratings  ·  37 reviews
One person’s trash is another persons’s treasure in this vivid picture-book ode to creative recycling — and to loyal friends.

Anyone can dive for treasure in the ocean, but Steve dives for it in his neighborhood dumpster! As he delves into the trash each weekend, Steve encourages his young neighbors (aka the Diving Team) to see the potential in what other people throw away....more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published February 13th 2007 by Candlewick Press
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Lila Brantley
This book initially sparked my interest because I'm a hardcore dumpster diver. I have been since I was a kid (my dad taught me the tricks of the trade.) The feeling one gets when they find something completely incredible in the TRASH is amazing. I once had a garage sale with nothing but items I found in the trash and made 100.00! Ok ok..enough bragging about my trash-to-treasure skills. The book has great illustrations and isn't too wordy. I like picture books that aren't too wordy because I hav...more
A book about a man named Steve who risks bodily injury literally diving into dumpsters in order to rescue usable junk, which he uses to make items of dubious safety, quality, and aesthetics. That said, on the page featuring Steve's apartment he is shown kicking back and listening to headphones and beside him is the most adorable cartoon rendering ever of Kate Bush's Hounds of Love CD, so Steve does have very good taste in some things. However, the fact that the CD is in his apartment probably me...more
Mar 30, 2008 babyhippoface rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: creative, future inventors
Now, I know we don't want to teach our kids to climb in dumpsters to see what cool stuff we can find. (And I wonder if maybe that's why Wong chose to have Steve get hurt by dumpster treasure?) That being said, what a cool message this book has!

I always wanted to do stuff like this--take people's trash and turn it into neat "'inventions," but I wasn't the scientific inventor type, so the closest I ever got was making my own tabletop hockey game out of butter tubs and popsicle sticks. My mother th...more
The Dumpster Diver is a great book that shows some incredible things that can be made from what some might consider trash. I believe it could be used in any elementary age classroom and could easily go along with a project for students to make their own thing out of stuff they find. I really enjoy that the children share some of they have found or make things that will help other people. I also think that it was important that the author showed that maybe dumpster diving itself isn't the safest...more
Laura Mcclanahan
Genre- Post Modern Picture Book

What is one man's junk is another man's treasure. This light-hearted text shows a group of kids that take after a kid-at-heart Steve who finds joy in the little things, especially when he can turn seemingly useless items into new toys and gismos. Janet Wong creatively writes the text on what appears to be trash- slivers of paper, grey duct-tape, torn doilies,etc. The text then appears catawampous across the page, as if in a trash scrapbook. Illustrator David Robert...more
Natalie Haskins
A man and some of his neighborhood friends dumpster dive into trash! Most of the people in the neighborhood do not approve of his actions and look down upon it, however, it does not stop Steve from exploring his findings. Sometimes they use what they find and make something out of it to give to others. It is amazing of some of the things they come up with. This story has great truth behind it because things that we may consider trash can be formed into treasure. I would teach my students to not...more
Meghan Hunt
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
A bit odd, the characters anyway, but what they made from the "treasures" found in the dumpster were pretty imaginative.
Amy Baric
A man and some of his neighborhood friends all go dumpster diving in the alleys by their apartments. Obviously, some people don’t approve, but he doesn't care. His goal is to discover treasure that others have thrown away. Sometimes they work together to create something or they give the items to help others.
Obviously, the topic in this book is a little unconventional, but I think that it can present students with some ways they can discover treasure. I don’t think that you should encourage s...more
Jul 18, 2007 Becky rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: creative folks, kids who live in the city
This picture book cleverly presented the idea of dumpster diving within the larger idea of thinking creatively about what most people throw away -- what can be re-used and re-invented as something else? Grown-up Steve does the actual diving, but he's got three kid helpers who hose off the goods and brainstorm what to do with the treasure. The wacky illustrations are complemented by text written on duct tape, lace doily bits, and even a band-aid. A great message about conservation and creativity....more
Oct 10, 2010 Marcie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Marcie by: Sylvia Vardell Text
Love the idea and creativity of this. I live in a suburb and think my husband, who brings home orphans from curbs and his friend Apple would enjoy this idea of "one man's trash is another man's treasure." I have to admit I was a little worried at the idea of recycling a computer, from a safety point of view, but it did remind me of the story of the people in
California who accepted dead computers and reconditions them for schools, etc. Maybe I'm being too analytical.
Crawling with cockroaches, crankiness and whole lot of creativity, this imaginative story of community recycling makes saving the earth a cheeky adventure.

For information about’s KinderHarvest magazine recycling initiative, click here.

Listen to our chat about this book on our Children's Book Podcast:

Vanessa Adams
This book would help me to discuss with the children in my classroom how items that others may think is trash can be reused to create exciting new things. Sometimes for children thinking of everyday items as different created things is hard to imagine. This book will make it easy to get their imagination rolling. We could build our school with recycled materials and that would incorporate a social studies activity in my unit of study.
Jul 27, 2007 Radym rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Joshua, Eli, Olivia & Adin
The book is great, except...

-- it doesn't make dumpster diving look too appealing (both inside covers are covered in cockroaches and other delicious bugs)

-- the principle dumpster diver gets seriously hurt and chastised for dumpster diving. Although I would say that one should be careful when dumpster diving (I've gotten hurt myself, before), I don't think it teaches kids a good lesson.
This is the first picture book I've seen about dumpster diving and I'm glad it exists! It's spirited and fun with lots to see. It does end with a sort of cautionary element about potential danger, which I feel *meh* about. I think it could have been handled differently. It's cool to see a picture book on this topic, though, and I hope to stumbled upon more!
So this one was a little odd. Steve goes dumpster diving for treasure. Like they say " one mans junk, is another mans treasure." He believes old things still are important. He also helps others with his finds. He as reals that have to be followed, but still manages to get hurt.
this was not what I thought it was going to be when I picked it up but I am glad I did. The first couple of pages are gross to me but it is about a man who just thinks old treasures are still worth something. I truly enjoyed it for what it is. Grades K+
This one is o.k., I was kind of hoping for something like Here comes the Garbage Barge, by Winter.
But this was a more imaginative recycling using and making things from junk book. I liked the illustrations and the fonts used in this book.
Jun 18, 2009 Johnson added it
Shelves: recycling, funny
Once a month--every week in the summer--Steve the electrician dons special gear and, with the help of youngsters who live in his building, dives into a dumpster seeking useful objects that they can transform into imaginative new ones.
Stephani Snow
Kids decide to make an art out of dumpster diving, then some one gets hurt. So they come up with the brilliant idea of just going door to door and asking people for their old junk before they throw it away.

Picture Book
Some kids help their neighbor with his dumpster diving collection and eventually with his recovery after a diving injury. Theme --imagination, , anti-materialism, collaboration.
"Charming tale about New York, dumster diving, and recycling by giving life to old things through ingenuity, utility, and art. (P Wong, Orem Library)"
Making stuff from trash.
Shaley Dunn
The words are in a unique form. Its about friendship and finding hidden treasures in the dumpter. It would be good for a first or second grader.
This is a fabulously illustrated tale about reusing trash in unique ways. My sons love the story as well as the pictures.
If you read the book, you'll wonder if the author ever went dumpster diving. Still, it's cute and ya gotta admire the ethic!
Feb 14, 2009 Dolly rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
Shelves: 2009, childrens
Funny book about dumpster diving...the extreme way to reuse items and be ecological. Our girls enjoyed this book.
Kaylee Gallup
If ever there is a project on making useful things out of old things (recylcling), this would be the book!
Youth Services
Cute illustrations, good to illustrate the point,"One person's trash is another person's treasure". JD
Inspired Kathy
Quite silly actually - and a little bit gross with all the bugs that come out of the dumpster.
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Janet S. Wong was born in Los Angeles, and grew up in Southern and Northern California. As part of her undergraduate program at UCLA, she spent her junior year in France, studying art history at the Université de Bordeaux. When she returned from France, Janet founded the UCLA Immigrant Children's Art Project, a program focused on teaching refugee children to express themselves through art.

After gr...more
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