This book was first published in 2017 and reissued in 2022. It comes with a pledge to ‘revise and update information in future editions’. I found it to be an enticing, substantial, busy picture book (64 pages in length). It’s studded with names of species and phenomena to pique the interest of young generalists and guide them on to further investigation.
The book is structured in four broad, loosely defined sections. There’s Physical Earth, Life on Earth, Earth Regions and The Human Planet. The spreads within are themed: Earthquakes and Volcanoes, How the Weather Works, Journey to the Centre of the Earth. But I would have liked to see more introductory text in each spread. Or perhaps the summary text could be more clearly delineated. Therefore, I had the sense of being hurled into a topic that hasn’t always been defined.
The level of information varies a lot. Often facts are quite broad and general, such as scientists ‘will never be able to collect enough data to predict [the weather] with 100% accuracy’. But sometimes it is highly specific: the term ‘protoplanetary disc’ features twice on the ‘How the Earth was Formed’ spread without explaining what it means. I question the relevance of some spreads, such as the pages featuring notable people ranging from Cleopatra to Greta Thunberg.
Thomas Hegbrook’s illustrations are in muted, tertiary colours. They are quite cartoon-like at times, definitely light in tone. They contribute to the entertaining nature of a book to dip in and out of.
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