How big is Earth or the Solar System or the Milky Way galaxy?
How old is our planet and when did the first animals and people appear on it?
Some things are so huge or so old that it’s hard to wrap your mind around them. But what if we took these big, hard-to-imagine objects and events and compared them to things we can see, feel and touch?
‘If …’ introduces some of the mind-boggling concepts of our world and suggests ways of understanding them. Our planets are shown as a series of balls from Mercury (ping pong ball) to Jupiter (fit ball). Our galaxy becomes a plate and our solar system a speck of dust too small to see. History becomes a calendar and continents animals with the ocean (and a blue whale) occupying ¾ of the earth’s surface. The painterly illustrations are full page and include children and adults helping to present and understand the information on offer. Text boxes provide extra information. Humans are shown large and small, the different scales helping to clarify the text information. There is also plenty of other information embedded in the illustrations. There is a contents page and final pages offer notes for parents and teachers as well as information sources.
‘If’ is a picture book for children who like their information straight up. It will also help parents and teachers answer some of those curly questions in an age-accessible way. Information-hungry children will find plenty to engage and entertain as well as ideas and suggestions to stimulate further exploration and investigation. It’s easy to see ‘If’ being used through primary years both at school and at home, particularly for those who struggle with longer fictional texts. Recommended for primary-aged readers.
If …, David J. Smith Steve Adams New Frontier Publishing 2015 ISBN: 9781925059267
review by Claire Saxby, Children’s author and bookseller