Rustle the Leaf's Earth Day Book: It's Fun, It's Free, and It's Flying Out the Door

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Everyone from grade schools to churches to NASA research labs are snapping up Rustle the Leaf's Earth Day Book -- and that's exactly what its creators intended.

It doesn't sound like much, really: a 12-page booklet with a few comics, mazes, word puzzles and a colorful foldout poster. But Rustle the Leaf's Earth Day Book is grabbing the interest and attention of educational, religious and governmental organizations in the US, Canada and around the world. In fact, the booklet—an educational tool to help students learn about the environment as they celebrate Earth Day—has such appeal that more than 10,000 books were ordered in a single day.

Is it because there's a shortage of free Earth Day materials? Hardly. According to the creators of Rustle the Leaf Environmental Comics, it's because their approach to dealing with eco-topics is fun, but it's also matter-of-fact. "This isn’t some lightweight, 'let's all join hands and sing about Earth Day' piece," says Rustle the Leaf Creator & Co-Writer Dave Ponce. "It's about effectively introducing key environmental issues that face us long after Earth Day banners are torn down and sitting in local landfills."

Beyond information about Earth Day, the book covers topics such as ocean pollution, global warming, chlorine, and petroleum-related toxins. Each page offers a related activity and "Rustle the Leaf" comic. The inside cover converts into an 11 x 17-inch color poster containing "Rustle the Leaf’s Earth Day Pledge."

Ponce says the book's popularity isn't just about the subject matter. "It's also about the artwork that brings Rustle the Leaf and his friends to life." The Artist and Co-Writer of Rustle the Leaf is nationally syndicated cartoonist Dan Wright, whose humor, brush style, and captivating use of color has helped propel the weekly online comic series into national prominence among environmentalists, educators and comic lovers. "Dan turns environmental information into something unforgettable," says Ponce. "Just look at a few comics online, or the Earth Pledge Day poster [inside the Earth Day Book]. You see Dan's talent, his heart, his mastery of the medium."

Funding Rustle the Leaf's outreach—including production and free distribution of 100,000 copies of Rustle the Leaf's Earth Day Book—are Steve and Melissa Zeitler, founders of Citra-Solv, LLC., a manufacturer of environment-friendly cleaning and personal care products. In business since 1987 promoting alternatives to petroleum and chlorine-based cleaners, the Zeitler's are determined to get Rustle's message to everyone, no matter what their position within the environmental debate.

"There's all sorts of environmental discussion," says Citra-Solv President Melissa Zeitler, "but it's like something is missing. Something that makes the information 'stick.' We think that 'something' is humor—original, poignant, thought-provoking humor. Dan and Dave are doing the sort of informed, thinking-person's humor that reaches everyone from school kids to college kids to the most seasoned environmentalists. The emails we get and the orders pouring in for the Earth Day Book are pretty good indicators we've struck a nerve, or maybe a funny bone," says Zeitler.

Although the Zeitler's expect to run out of Earth Day Books before the end of March, it is available as a free download from the web site rustletheleaf (dot) com. "We really had no idea what to expect as far as orders," says Zeitler, "but we've been overwhelmed." According to Zeitler, the numbers and diversity of organizations ordering Earth Day books has surprised everyone. "We've received orders from the Canadian Government, from regional offices of the EPA, from the US National Park Service, Cornell University, Girl Scout troops, YMCAs, supermarket chains, churches, temples, grade schools, home schools, day care centers and even NASA's Langley Research Center," says Zeitler. "We don’t know where it will end, but we think it says a lot about the quality and value of the work Dave and Dan are doing." The book is printed on Processed Chlorine Free paper, which uses 100% post-consumer content and is manufactured without any chlorine bleaching compounds.

The ordering deadline for Rustle the Leaf's Earth Day Book is March 20, 2006. Organizations that require more than 100 books should contact Steve Zeitler at (800) 343-6588 or via email at the Citra-Solv web site. For more information about Rustle the Leaf, contact Dave Ponce.

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