Reviews /

If I Were The World

Authored by Mark Sperring
Illustrated by Natelle Quek
Published by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC

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If I Were The World:

Sperring’s call-to-action story for young readers is much in keeping with a number of stories published in recent times that deal with the Earth’s suffering, e.g. Marcus Sedgwick’s brilliant Wrath, for older readers. In it the child narrators put themselves in the shoes of the planet and reflect on the state of the seas, the land and the ice-covered regions before stepping out again and calling for action with a new-found sense of understanding and responsibility. ‘It’s time to take action! We must do all we can!’ they cry before involving themselves in many Earth-caring activities.

For this reader, the real strength of the narrative lies in the final pages, when the children question what would they want if they were the world. And so they reflect: ‘If I were the world, I’d want flowers and bees. A chorus of birds singing high in the trees…’ and so on. It’s this visualisation that really inspires and is a play on the old saying that to achieve something, you’ve got to know what it looks like.

Its rhyming text scheme is a great choice in terms of creating the book’s central mantra, and the rich and colourful illustrations by Quek depict the various landscapes beautifully and inclusively. This is a book that will inspire children to ask big questions about the world around them, and, importantly, will show them that they do have agency by demonstrating practical ways by which the world can be put right. KS1 teachers looking to teach poetry will find the use of repetition in the text a useful resource also.