The Earth Book
Little Tiger Press, 2017
64pp., hbk., RRP $A39.99
“In the vastness of space lies a tiny sphere that orbits an ordinary middle-aged star in a quiet backwater of the Milky Way. It’s one of billions of trillions of worlds, yet it is the only one that we know supports life… let’s go on a voyage of discovery to the four corners of the globe.”
Beginning with the beginning of the planet’s existence and told in a narrative style suitable for the newly independent reader who likes to read non fiction rather than dipping and delving for specific information, this is a beautifully illustrated book that takes the reader on a journey through physical earth, life on earth, the regions of the earth and the human planet.
With its retro colour palette, diagrams and pictures it reminds me very much of a similar book I used to pore over 60 years ago and which I still have, such was its importance to my understanding of the world. While today’s youngsters have television and the Internet to take them on similar journeys, nevertheless there is comfort and security in having something on hand that can be referred to over and over on demand; that gives enough information to satisfy a curiosity while also being a springboard to seeking further understanding if that is required.
However, the illustrations are not as clear as might be expected for a ready reference resource of this type and being unpaged, and lacking a contents page and an index make its use more a personal one than an essential element of a library’s collection. It is one to recommend to parents who are looking to boost their for home libraries so their children can start to understand what this planet is and how it works. It may become as loved as mine did and decades on form part of a collection of adored childhood reads.
As world events and personal dramas seem to envelop us, books like this tend to put mankind and indeed Earth into perspective in the scheme of things and we are left with a wonder and an awe of this ‘third rock from the sun” as well as a sense of hope that despite everything and everyone, this place will endure for our lifetime and that of several lifetimes to come.