Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Review: If You Come to Earth by Sophie Blackall

by Sophie Blackall
Chronicle Books
Picture Book
80 pages
ages 5 to 8

From two-time Caldecott Winner author-illustrator Sophie Blackall!

If You Came to Earth is a glorious guide to our home planet, and a call for us to take care of both Earth and each other.

This stunning book is inspired by the thousands of children Sophie Blackall has met during her travels around the world in support of UNICEF and Save the Children.

• An engaging storybook about a single curious and imaginative child
• Simultaneously funny and touching
• Carries a clear message about the need to care for the earth and each other

If you come to Earth, there are a few things you need to know. . .
We live in all kinds of places.
In all kinds of homes.
In all kinds of families.
Each of us is different. But all of us are amazing.
And, together, we share one beautiful planet.

This masterful and moving picture book is a visually comprehensive guide to the earth, imbued with warmth and humor.

• Ideal for children ages 3 to 5 years old
• Resonates year-round as a go-to gift for birthdays, holidays, and more
• A great pick for teachers looking for a crowd-pleasing picture book about the world for little students
• Perfect for parents, grandparents, and caregivers
• Add it to the shelf with books like The Travel Book by Lonely Planet Kids, Atlas of Adventures by Rachel Williams, and If You Lived Here: Houses of the World by Giles Laroche.



The question of 'what would someone/something coming to Earth find' runs through the mind of a child, finding all sorts of answers, which span from nature to transportation to activities to so much more. Although eighty pages, it's an easy read and invites to explore.

After reading about the author's background and intentions, I was intrigued but also wondering if this book might take too deep a direction. I was pleasantly surprised. While covering various cultures and aspects of daily life from around the world, these pages remain playful and thought-provoking in a manner which is perfect for the intended age group. Each page holds only a few short phrases at most, allowing the illustrations to take over after that. It starts with the solar system and very quickly directs the reader to Earth, explaining what Earth is in an extremely basic way ('green and brown bits are land,  and the blue stuff is water.') The style flows as if written by a child, is easy to understand, and gets straight to the point. It makes for a lovely read-aloud.

The illustrations carry everything the text does not. While homes are mentioned, the illustration portrays over a dozen various homes from around the world. There are almost always various characters included, which bring across a sense of 'us' along with the variety. Not only does this allow young listeners to explore the variety of possibilities and open up to discussions, but also keeps a friendly atmosphere.

This is the type of book a child can lay down on the carpet with and explore again and again.

And here she is...

Sophie Blackall has illustrated many books, including the Ivy + Bean series, Ruby's Wish, and has twice won the Caldecott Medal. Originally from Australia, she now lives in Brooklyn, New York. Learn more about her at www.sophieblackall.com.

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