The Greenberg sisters have taken the ancient myth of Gaia and updated it with a strong environmental message for young readers in this striking graphic novel/picture book. Following the success of their earlier collaboration, the pair continue with their theme of bringing the Greek goddesses to life, this time with clear parallels to modern circumstances.
Gaia, is revered as the creator of Earth and the universe and all of the natural world held within both: She raised trees from their roots to the sky, sent waterfalls tumbling over cliffs and created the tides that sloshed on the shore. She gifted her creation to animals and mortals, and watched as they made it their home.
But as time went on Gaia was unable to control the power wielded by the warring gods who used their wiles to corrupt and orchestrate the events of mortals such as Achilles and Hercules. Helplessly, Gaia had to watch much of her beautiful creation destroyed by thoughtless and greedy mortals, just as happens today. Despite this, she never gave up trying to save her world and the clear message here is that we too must never give up fighting for the preservation of our planet.
A terrific and very different book to include with any unit of work that is environmentally focused and one that will arouse much interest with readers from around middle to upper primary.
This is another one to add to your collection for a unit of work on the environment although I also think this would work perfectly for little ones’ Christian Studies if yours is a church school as mine is.
It’s not just an examination of what a small person might express about their love for the world around them but IMO a glorious way to express gratitude to the Creator for this wondrous world.
Delightful double spreads each feature one particular sentiment as extremely sweet woodland creatures scamper around doing their own busy investigations. How super would it be to have your class create their own similar books, whether as individuals or as a combined class collaboration! Since this one features animals from all around the world perhaps their focus could be a version which showcases our own native fauna and of course, what is so beautiful about our own part of the earth.
Little ones from as young as two will love this both for its text and the artwork in which they will love to point out the various animals.
Recommended for small humans in the Foundation years.
Once Grandfather lived at the top of a mountain next to the tallest tree. Even down in the village market his house was a landmark for all to see but as the land changed so did Grandfather’s life. In those days he told stories to his family and was very happy. Now he lives in a city apartment block with his family and a loving grandchild and his stories are silenced, his eyes are sad he mourns the loss of his traditional past. Down in the market, the apartment is indistinguishable from its neighbours. It is just one more dwelling among thousands with not a sign of green nature anywhere.
Then one day the small grandchild finds a tiny seedling triumphantly sprouting betweens cracks in the hard surface of the market and, wanting to rescue and protect it, takes it home because “Grandfather will know what to do.”
As that small tree defies odds and continues to grow under the care of grandfather and grandson, another is added and then another until their apartment balcony is filled with green and even from the market it is easy to see their home. Neighbours are enchanted by the greenery and soon begin to add their own trees on balconies until finally almost the entire neighbourhood of bleak barren buildings is transformed into an oasis in a busy city.
This is a beautiful narrative of love, family, resilience and nature. One senses that there could be a very personal back story to this new book and Bruce Whatley’s stunning illustrations capture perfectly the sense of Chinese culture in a linocut style.
This is a splendid picture book which I would predict will be firmly and rightfully placed in award lists in the coming year.
Highly recommended for young readers from around six years upwards.