On This Spot: An Expedition Back Through Time

Overview

On This Spot…

See buildings soar and traffic zoom, a kaleidoscope of color and movement. Now turn the page and time-travel back 175 years, where on the same spot carriages bumped and pigs raced across cobblestones. Turn again and go back 400 years to when a Lenape Indian trail crossed the spot. Now travel farther still, to when glaciers crept . . . dinosaurs preyed . . . a tropical sea teemed with ancient creatures . . . back 540 million years,...

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Overview

On This Spot…

See buildings soar and traffic zoom, a kaleidoscope of color and movement. Now turn the page and time-travel back 175 years, where on the same spot carriages bumped and pigs raced across cobblestones. Turn again and go back 400 years to when a Lenape Indian trail crossed the spot. Now travel farther still, to when glaciers crept . . . dinosaurs preyed . . . a tropical sea teemed with ancient creatures . . . back 540 million years, when rock was all you could see.

What happened on this spot? What will happen next? Look out your window. What happened on that spot?

The changing image of one geographic area in New York City is traced from the present back to millions of years ago.

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Editorial Reviews

Elizabeth Ward
Complete with a detailed timeline, this imaginative, beautifully illustrated book offers an unbeatable way to introduce children to what the poet Philip Larkin called "the long perspectives."
The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
New titles examine different aspects of history and progress. Readers travel back over 500 million years in On This Spot: An Expedition Back Through Time by Susan Goodman, illus. by Lee Christiansen. Beginning on the streets of modern Manhattan, the book takes readers through the island's history, first a few centuries at a time, then across million-year leaps through the Ice Age and the dinosaurs' reign, to a time before sentient life existed. Full-bleed pastel spreads chart the significant changes in habitation and landscape across the millennia. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Goodman follows the midtown area of New York City from the present day backwards, in irregular increments, to the Paleozoic era, providing "snapshots" of evolution along the timeline. The conclusion conveys the notion of constant transformation coming full circle beyond the present-when things will be different still. Goodman keeps the information about each historic era brief but engaging: "20,000 years ago . . . glaciers were so thick they would have buried today's tallest buildings." Conceptually, this measures the brevity of human history (four double-paged spreads) against the expanse of natural history (the rest of the work). For a generation that is sensitive to global warming, Christiansen's pastels dramatize the climatic shifts, which could scarcely be more extreme. Full-bleed illustrations contain the words "170 million years ago . . . " at the upper left and "but on this spot . . . " at the lower right, giving readers both patterned repetition and a feeling of expectancy when turning the pages. With several points of access, this is not only illuminating but intriguing. (timeline, acknowledgements) (Picture book/nonfiction. 5-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780688169138
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/30/2004
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 504,044
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 11.50 (h) x 0.37 (d)

Meet the Author

Susan E. Goodman is the author of many acclaimed nonfiction books for children, including On This Spot: An Expedition Back Through Time, which was a Washington Post Book World Best Book of 2004. Her book The Truth About Poop was named Best of the Best by the Chicago Public Library, and Skyscraper was a Booklist Editors' Choice for 2004 and a Book Links Lasting Connection.

Lee Christiansen illustrated Water Hole Waiting by Jane Kurtz and Christopher Kurtz. School Library Journal called the illustrations "breathtaking" while Kirkus Reviews noted the "vivid artwork complements the elegant text, often extending it with additional details." Water Hole Waiting was named a School Library Journal Best Book and a National Science Teachers Association/Children's Book Council Outstanding Science Trade Book.

Lee Christiansen lives in Red Lodge, Montana, with his wife and sons.

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