Publishers Weekly “Requesting that the planet supply resolve to its denizens on top of supporting life seems like a big ask, but Sidman does a credible job of demonstrating Earth’s resilience.”Kirkus Reviews (starred review) “Lithe, accessible poetry celebrates our world’s mind-boggling grandeur—and humanity’s role as her steward.”School Library Journal (starred review) “A must-have for all schools and libraries that wish to maintain a current and vibrant poetry collection for young people.
Gr 3–5—This understated book of poetry spotlights planet Earth. The text covers scientific theories, including plate tectonics and continental drift, conservation, and the human impact on the planet's ecosystems. It is worth noting that Sidman did not write the poems first; rather, she worked off of the illustrations to create the stories. This unusual and unique workflow approach could be worth discussing with young readers. The artwork depicts Earth at a distance, and readers will feel as though they are omnipotent observers of the action happening on or beneath Earth's surface. The soft color palette provides a soothing tone to even the fieriest concepts, like volcanic explosions. The clever illustrations present an "I Spy" experience for readers; they will enjoy uncovering what feels like secret moments in many of the spreads—boa constrictors quietly winding through the treetops and a couple stealing a kiss at a restaurant. Sidman's poetry is conversational and spare, but it hits at the heart of the very human connection with Earth. Readers may be left wanting more, but that's also reflective of how people may wish for more answers and solutions to mankind's complicated relationship with the planet. VERDICT A must-have for all schools and libraries that wish to maintain a current and vibrant poetry collection for young people.—Shannon O'Connor, Unami M.S., Chalfont, PA
Conversational, inquisitive, and admiring poems question, explore, and honor our Earth.
An ardent, earnest collective narrative voice (identifying as the Earth’s human children) directly addresses the planet throughout this dazzling collection, explaining in the first poem that “we have been studying you, Earth, / but we long to learn more.” Each poem succinctly explores just one topic, allowing young readers to really ponder that individual, awe-inspiring subject. Readers find wonder in its volcanoes, deserts, plates, tides, jungles, oceans, weather, and mysteries, and they will enjoy frequent questions posed to Earth herself. “Earth, / do you love your dry places / as much as your watery ones? / Your tropics / as much as your ice?” Precise, naïve illustrations place the horizon line low and employ double-page spreads to capture the Earth’s great dome of sky, broad terrain, and wide waters. It’s fun to locate the little people (of all skin tones), fish, dinosaurs, monkeys, snakes, cats, and more within these large illustrations—and especially fun to squint and interpret their teeny experiences on Earth. Backmatter groups poems under larger scientific headers, with explanatory paragraphs that flesh out the concepts introduced in verse. Additional resources appear as well, with URLs of child-friendly climate change and conservation websites as well as a bibliography for those interested in further reading.
Lithe, accessible poetry celebrates our world’s mind-boggling grandeur—and humanity’s role as her steward. (Picture book/poetry. 6-12)