'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Saturday 1 April 2017

Review: Lots: The Diversity of Life on Earth

Open your eyes to all the living things in the wonderful world around you! Not just the big things like elephants and oak trees. But even the lichen growing on the backs of beetles. Or the mites in the feathers of birds! 

There are a multitude of amazing plants and creatures that exist all around us that we take for granted. They’re all part of a ‘big, beautiful, complicated pattern’ that weaves us all together on earth. 

But what happens when that pattern is broken? What happens if creatures become extinct before we’ve even discovered them? What if no-one ever knows they existed?

This book opens kids up to the world around them. It also has an important message. We have a responsibility to all living things no matter how big or small.

There are living things in deserts, on islands and in places where you would think nothing could live at all. They are all part of our world and they all depend on each other 'for food, for places to live and for ways to grow'.

But we don’t always look after these living things. What happens when humans poison air, rivers and oceans? Take too many fish from the sea? When we build roads that cut down forests?

Emily Sutton’s gorgeous illustrations are the making of this book. They beautifully convey the complexity of life with their detailed depictions of the vast variety of creatures and plant life on our planet. There is so much for kids to see and explore within these images that it allows them to take in the message of the text slowly whilst they explore the intricacy of the illustrations.

I love that this book is designed to appeal to a range of age groups. It contains dual narratives – the main text of the story for reading to younger children, and the more detailed fascinating facts and proper names for creatures added in a smaller font to appeal to older readers.

Did you know that there are over 100,000 different kinds of mushrooms? Or that there can be 5,000 kinds of microbes in one teaspoon of soil? The seven and nine-year-olds in my household loved learning these facts, along with the proper names for a whole range of creatures they had never encountered. From the ‘spongebob fungus’ to the ‘galapagos rosy iguana’, and we all had fun pronouncing the 'lepidiolamprologus mumicus cichlid fish'…

This is an absolutely gorgeous book with an important conservation message. How many living things are there on earth? One, two, three? LOTS! Yes lots and lots and lots. For the Earth to continue to thrive, we need to look after all living creatures as we are just one of the 'lots' that make up the 'big, beautiful, complicated pattern' of life.

Title: Lots: The Diversity of Life on Earth 
Author: Nicola Davies 
Illustrator: Emily Sutton 
Publisher: Walker Books, $24.99
Publication Date: 1 April 2017 
Format: Hard Cover 
ISBN: 9781406360486
For ages: 4 – 10
Type: Picture Book