Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Review: Most of the Better Natural Things in the World by Dave Eggers

by Dave Eggers 
Illustrated by Angel Chang
Chronicle Books
52 pages
ages 5 to 8

A tiger carries a dining room chair on her back. But why? Where is she going? With just one word per page, in lush, color-rich landscapes, we learn about the features that make up our world: an archipelago, a dune, an isthmus, a lagoon. Across them all, the tiger roams. An enigmatic investigation of our world's most beautiful places from bestselling author Dave Eggers, beautifully illustrated by debut artist Angel Chang.

• Each page introduces young readers to a different geographic element—from archipelagos to lagoons to gorges
• Universal story of a mother's arduous journey back to her family
• Quirky and enigmatic story with hipster appeal

Fans of Symphony City, Goodbye Summer, Hello AutumnCuriousitree, and Natural Wonders of the World will love this book.

This book is perfect for:
• Parents and grandparents
• Teachers
• Fans of Dave Eggers or McSweeney's
• Fans of wildlife or animal lovers
• Art book lovers


Pictures speak more than words and allow the vast world to open up through illustrations and a touch of imagination.

A white tiger sets out to visit various places around the world with a wooden chair bound to his back. But this isn't about continents, countries or specific places. Each illustration depicts a type of landscape: gorge, dunes, steppe and so forth. Only the name of the type of landscape being illustrated is placed in large text. The rest is carried by the beautiful illustrations.

This is a book for gazing. The colorful, lovely illustrations are the center point as various types of landscapes are put on display for young readers to discover. The addition of a white tiger with a chair on his back (and yes, this does have a purpose), puts a slightly curious twist, which lures readers to find out what the tiger is up to.

A wide range of landscape types is presented. Some of them will be familiar, many will not. It is a great way to introduce gets to some of the basics of geography and features. However, some types are more difficult (especially on the vocabulary end), such as archipelago, isthmus and chaparral. While it's great to introduce readers to new things, there are quite a few of these and I'm not sure most will be easily remembered. Luckily, there is a glossary at the end of the book to explain exactly what each of these is (which is helpful even for adults).

Summed up, this is a gorgeous picture book which allows young readers to be drawn up into various landscape features in a fun way.

And here he is...

Dave Eggers is an American writer, editor, and publisher. He is also the founder of McSweeney's, the cofounder of the youth writing organization 826 Valencia, and the founder of Scholar Match.

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