Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

B is for Blue Planet: An Earth Science Alphabet

B is for Blue Planet: An Earth Science Alphabet

Ruth Strother
Illustrator:  Bob Marstall 
Poetry and nonfiction Picture Book  Series
For ages 6 to 10
Sleeping Bear Press, 2011   ISBN: 978-1585364541

We live on a remarkable planet, a place where there are oceans and mountains, where precious gems can be found underground, where earthquakes shake the earth, and where glaciers creep down valleys. There are wonders everywhere we look, if we look hard enough. It is a place that is changing all the time, sometimes in small ways that we don’t even notice, and sometimes in terrifying ways that turn our lives upside down.

In this wonderful alphabet book we get to explore some of the features of our planet. For each letter of the alphabet we explore a topic in verse and in prose, and these sections of text are presented alongside a wonderful piece of art.

For the letter C, for example, we visit a coral reef, a place where “Color, shape and size astounds.” We look at an illustration that captures the diversity of life, and the rich colors and textures, found on a coral reef. A poem tells us a little about these marvelous ecosystems; a sidebar full of text gives us a lot more information about these fragile, and precious places that “provide a rich habitat for around 25 percent of all ocean life that we know of.”

For the letter H we find out about hurricanes, those powerful storms that build over warm ocean water and then, sometimes, come “straight for land – oh what a scare!” The informational text that accompanies the poem tells us how big hurricanes are, how they form, and what happens when hurricanes make landfall.

Other topics that are explored in this book include “A is for Amber,” “D is for Deserts,” “O is for Oil,” and “T is for Tides.”

This is the kind of book that a child can grow with. Young readers will enjoy looking at the pictures and having the poems read to them. An older reader will get a lot out of the informational text that builds on what the poem tells us.

Alphabet books’ sole purpose used to be to help children learn their ABC’s. Now such titles help children learn about so many topics that are relevant to their lives. By combining artwork, nonfiction information, and poetry, the creators of this book give children a singular reading experience.

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