“A Book of Comparisons” is the subtitle of this great new book from What on Earth Books. Earth Is Big by Steve Tomacek takes readers around the globe and beyond, and examines the big, the small, and the in-between!
What Is Earth Is Big?
What on Earth Books is rapidly becoming my go-to publisher for accessible non-fiction children’s books. They have a knack for packaging up information in an interesting and engaging fashion. They’re perfect for capturing young imaginations and teaching children about the world around them.
The intention of this book is to look at the Earth, something that is almost impossibly big, particularly to children, and examine it, and the things that live on it, via their relative sizes. In the introduction, Earth Is Big talks a lot about the importance of measurement, both to us as humans on a social level and from a scientific standpoint. It includes a brief introduction as to the importance of standard units. All measurements in the book are given using the SI measurements. There is a conversion table at the back of the book, however.
Earth Is Big is broken down into related pairs of double-page spreads, so the first double page is “Earth Is Big” and the next “Earth Is Small.’ Later we get Cold/Hot, Wet/Dry, Fast/Slow to name but 3. The last couple of spreads are a little different: “Is Earth Ours?” examines biodiversity, and “Earth Is Unique” looks at how special the Earth is, even if it isn’t as singular as we once thought.
The book is closed out with a glossary, index, and a list of sources. Earth Is Big is a large-format hardback of around 50 pages. It is beautifully illustrated throughout via colorful retro-styled infographic diagrams by Marcos Farina.
Why Read This Book?
I do love books that slice and dice information in interesting ways, and this is certainly true of Earth Is Big. The wealth of information contained within the slender cover of Earth Is Big is impressive. The first page (Earth Is Big) has a wonderful description of the various measurements of distance from Kilometers to Nanometers, ranging from long-haul travel and the Great Wall of China, right down to the size of water molecules and hydrogen atoms.
Conversely, the next page, Earth Is Small, shows us how tiny the Earth is compared to the sun, how tiny that is compared to Betelguese, where the Solar System fits into the Milky Way, and then the Milky Way into the local cluster. Over the course of two pages, the Earth goes from vast to insignificant.
Further pages examine the formation of the Earth and describe how life exploded onto the planet. It also describes how fleeting a single human life is when compared with the geological timescale. This is a very beautiful book, but one that might instill existential angst!
Every page is filled with fascinating facts, whether it be the rapid rotation of the Earth and the speed of a supersonic jet, or the slowness of all those things when compared to the Parker Solar probe or protons in the Large Hadron Collider. We take much of the world around us for granted. Does it change quickly, or very slowly? The answer is both! This book elegantly reveals dichotomies that we live alongside, but rarely consider. Earth Is Big shows what an amazing planet we live on.
Like every What on Earth book I’ve reviewed, this is a perfect volume for switching young minds on to the world around them. They’ll possibly never have considered the comparisons made in this book. Adults and children alike will be amazed by some of Earth Is Big’s revelations.
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Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in order to write this review.