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Looking for a book from my childhood (was read aloud in 3rd grade, I'm 35) and as the title says, the Earth has been paved over. Further details I recall are that the story follows a girl growing up living in a car train type vehicles and everyone is strapped into motorized wheelchairs. They also only eat food called calorie sticks. They watch robots fight or race on TV for entertainment.

One day, breaking from the normal bland things of life, she notices an apple tree growing up from the pavement. After passing it several times, the travel vehicle stops one day and she gets free of her wheelchair and crawls to the apple tree. Sadly one of the robots immediately finds her and destroys the tree, paving it over. I believe she may have gotten an apple.

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    In 3rd grade one is, what, 8 or 9 years old? So this would have been 26 or 27 years ago, and since it's 2021, this would have been in 1995 or 1996? You're making me do arithmetic!
    – DavidW
    Mar 26, 2021 at 20:23
  • This is definitely a different story than the one I asked about where the world was also completely paved over.
    – DavidW
    Mar 26, 2021 at 20:25
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    Did they also put up a pink hotel, a boutique, and a swingin' hot spot?
    – Valorum
    Mar 26, 2021 at 20:49
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    Also probably not "Revolt of the Pedestrians" even though that also involves humanity getting around in personal cars at all times.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Mar 26, 2021 at 21:03
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    This might be the same story as this one from 2 years ago, but this question has more details.
    – DavidW
    Mar 26, 2021 at 21:05

2 Answers 2

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Pretty sure this is The Endless Pavement (1973) by Jacqueline Jackson.

Cover of "The Endless Pavement", showing a black-and-white picture of a girl in a vehicle, looking up at a colored red apple in a green tree.

This review seems to match your description very closely:

A forbidden apple brings salvation in this uncommon fable, set in a grim future when people live in Home-a-Rollas, children go to School-a-Rollas, individuals are bolted into their own personal rollabouts, everyone watches auto races on their family screens and eats fortified but tasteless calorie sticks -- a world all tightly and efficiently controlled by a master Computermobile.

Then one day the young heroine, Josette, discovers an anomalous apple tree beneath a cloverleaf, slides from her rollabout and picks the fruit. She is of course reprimanded severely but before she can be reattached to her rollabout with "special bolts that only the Central Wrench can loosen," she throws the apple at the Great Computermobile, thereby wrecking the panel and bringing all the machinery to a halt. Whereupon people everywhere emerge from their hatches and Josette walks to meet them. That such use of the legs would be physically impossible given Josette's sedentary history should probably not disturb us, but it does make the concluding optimism less persuasive.

However, Josette's mechanized world is impressively projected without a false note or a touch of the heavy handed overkill most authors would employ. The book's design -- with the story set like poetry, a few words to a line -- helps to sustain the mood and the flow, and Cuffari's black and white pictures have a floating, surreal quality that fits the style and the theme without surrendering to the ugliness of Josette's world.

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    Thankyou for helping me find this book and the warm welcome. I am picking up a used copy online. I noticed when checking out this book may only be 45 pages and may be a short read. Hmm... everything always seems much longer and could last forever in our younger years.
    – Russ
    Apr 21, 2021 at 12:52
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While not involving a girl in a wheelchair, there are a number of books that fit the description in the title, that were written in the 1950's/1960's by children's authors. These are partial matches, but entirely appropriate for anywhere between 3-12 year olds.

Two fairly well known ones are The Lorax by Dr Seuss, in which an idyllic world with animals playing in the water and under trees is destroyed by the "Onceler" who cuts down all the trees to make a product called a "thneed", building factories, housing etc to help his growing workforce, but at the same time destroying the environment and removing all hope of regeneration.

Another, perhaps less well known, is The Wump world by Bill Peet. In this book aliens, known as "Pollutians" arrive in polluting spaceships, and then proceed to pave over the world, driving the Wumps underground, where they live until the Pollutians move on and the world starts to recover.

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