I’m back with another amazing nonfiction selection for Perfect Picture Book Friday!
Title: EARTH! MY FIRST 4.54 BILLION YEARS
Written by: Stacy McAnulty
Illustrated by: David Litchfield
Henry Holt and Company, 2018, nonfiction
For Ages: 4-8
Themes/Topics: Earth, planets, solar system, life, sharing
“Hi! My name is Earth. Some people call me Gaia, the blue marble, the world, or the third planet from the sun. You can call me Planet Awesome.”
Summary (from publisher):
Prepare to learn all about Earth from the point-of-view of Earth herself! In this funny yet informative book, filled to the brim with kid-friendly facts, readers will discover key moments in Earth’s life, from her childhood more than four billion years ago all the way up to present day. Beloved children’s book author Stacy McAnulty helps Earth tell her story, and award-winning illustrator David Litchfield brings the words to life. The book includes back matter with even more interesting tidbits.
Why I Like This Book:
This book strikes a perfect balance between facts and fun. By getting the story straight from the source –smiling, brown-eyed Earth itself – we learn about Earth the same way we get to know a good friend. Earth tells us all about its family, favorite activities, and its history. Baby Earth was “a hot mess.” And the time of the dinosaurs was one of its favorites. Earth says, “I mean, everyone loves dinosaurs!” But the story is not without drama: “ASTEROID!!” Earth also gently reminds us that while humans “have been super fun,” they also “forget to share and place nice and clean up after themselves.” But Earth is rooting for us: “I bet humans will turn out to do really great things.” And you can’t read this book without rooting for Earth, too.
My kids tell me that at 8 and 10 they’re getting “too old” for picture books. But independently they both read EARTH! cover to cover. I overheard my son laughing raucously throughout.
Resources: Check out the engaging back matter at the back of the book. You can also find curriculum guides by scrolling to the bottom of EARTH!’s Macmillan page: https://us.macmillan.com/earthmyfirst454billionyears/stacymcanulty/9781250108081/. Stacy McAnulty’s author page also features downloadable activity pages.
(For a collection of picture book reviews, along with resources, please visit Susanna Leonard Hill’s site: http://susannahill.com/for-teachers-and-parents/perfect-picture-books/.)