Title: Earth Verse: Explore our Planet through Poetry and Art
Author: Sally M. Walker
Illustrator: William Grill
Publisher: Walker Studio
Genre: Children’s picture book, Non-fiction, Science
Book format: Hardback
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Description: From the hidden wonders of fossilization , rocks and the water cycle to awe-inspiring spectacles like volcanoes, thunderstorms and glaciers, discover the magnificent way the world works in this unique and beautiful approach to earth science.
Sally M. Walker’s illuminating haikus about the extraordinary processes that happen all around us are vividly illustrated by William Grill award winning creator of Shakleton’s Journey.

*Free copy provided by publisher for review…

Review:  I’m not sure what to think of this book. Although I enjoyed reading the poetry and the illustrations, I’m not sure if all kids will understand it. ‘Earth Verse’ is a hardback book about A4 in size although slightly wider and is filled with thick glossy pages of colourful illustrations and some text. It is a non-fiction book all about the planet from its basic structure to the weather that affects its surface.

The book is not arranged in any particular order but explores various aspects of Earth. Each page or double page is filled with illustrations as well as a haiku poem for each image. The haiku poems are all very good and as an adult I can appreciate how interesting and clever they are, however I’m not sure that many children will fully appreciate them, especially if they’ve never been introduced to haiku poetry before (like I hadn’t been until I was older).

Earth Verse book page image one
©The Strawberry Post

Each illustration of the book feels very much like a pencil or crayon drawing and are mostly red and blue in colour. Although some people have complained about the illustrations I actually enjoyed them. They are simple but do show what the haiku talks about well and I do like the child-like look to all the images.

Near each page number is a small circle with a specific pattern or illustration in it, it’s only clear once you reach the end of the book why these little patterns exist. At the back of the book there are several pages explaining different aspects of Earth: minerals, rocks, fossils, earthquakes, etc. This section is very interesting and explains in better detail than the poetry does what happens on Earth. It’s a great way for kids to learn especially if they enjoy geography. Each of these sections, such as minerals, has one of the patterns/images associated with it. When you look back at the poetry pages again you can see that each page corresponds to one section. I did enjoy reading this book the second time, once I’d read about the geography of Earth first and I do wonder if this book would be better if the information was read first and then you can appreciate the poetry and images more.

Earth Verse book page image two
©The Strawberry Post

Although I enjoy the haiku and I can’t fault the illustrations, I do think this book is too complicated for a lot of children to understand. The text in a lot of the poetry can be too difficult to understand, there were some words that even I didn’t know and had to look up and I know that as a child I wouldn’t have understood what they mean. I also wasn’t a fan of haikus as a child, able to only appreciate them when I became a teenager, and often thought of poetry as being phrases that rhyme so as a child I wouldn’t have understood or enjoyed the book’s poetry aspect much and I wonder if other kids would feel the same.

I think this book is great for kids who are very keen on geography, some of them will enjoy the art work as well as the more detailed text at the back. Others who aren’t so keen might also enjoy the poetry but this may need to be explained a little by an adult first.  It depends on their age as well as their understanding of the poems.  Whether this book is enjoyed by all children though will depend on how keen they are to read and learn about Earth as well as whether they appreciate and understand the haiku poetry, but if they do then it’s an interesting book to read and look at.

-Review first appeared online March 2018 – now republished here.

What do you think of this book?  Do you like haiku poetry?  Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂