The Biggest Footprint

Authored by Rob Sears
Illustrated by Tom Sears
Published by Cannongate

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This hilarious book offers us such a unique take on caring for our planet. With mind-boggling facts and thought-provoking illustrations, this is a must-have book for anyone interested in their carbon footprint, conservation or caring for the Environment in general.

The book begins with the rather odd idea of smooshing the entire human population together to create one giant human being -The Mega Human. The Biggest Footprint uses this concept of smooshing to help us visualise the exact impact we are having and have had on Planet Earth.

When I read this book with my children, they found the idea incredibly amusing. But as bizarre as it sounds, it does provide an ideal way to show us the true extent of the damage we are causing our planet. This becomes particularly apparent when the population of various animals is ‘smooshed’, and we then see the impact of poaching and deforestation on the size of the animal kingdom. There’s a double-spread towards the middle of the book, which compares populations from 1900 to now. We see how humans have doubled in population, while many ocean species have reduced drastically and some have become extinct. The stark reality hits hard, and my children wanted to talk at length about how we had gotten to this stage. This is a book that will provoke some critical discussions.

The Biggest Footprint also explores the sheer amount of food we eat and the amount of waste we produce, from food to clothes to plastic. While it provides the humorous take on it all; showing us a recipe for a mega burger that could feed our mega human, and the size of a mega bookshelf made from all the trees we chop down in a year; it will make you ponder on the enormity of the problem we have created. Ultimately it should lead us to, at the very least, considering how we might change our habits and start to fix the problems we have created.

This book is a must for every school. Both primary and secondary students will benefit from understanding the message that shines through so strongly. Adults too will learn so much and will no doubt want to start making changes to reduce their carbon footprint after reading this book.


Interview with Rob and Tom Sears on In The Reading Corner.

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