This book was written in honor of the birth of the author and illustrator’s son being born. It offers a delightful, baby-sized introduction to astronomy, geography, biology, and more — yet is, first and foremost, a heart-felt appeal to care for the planet we live on.
I love the clearly hand-made illustrations, which are delightful in every way. Little smiley faces are everywhere — in the book and on the faces of my children when I read it to them, too. What’s more, is that not only are the illustrations charming, they are beautiful artworks in themselves. Just lovely.
The text is very well-written, with no cynicism or irony, with a light touch and good sense of humor throughout. It is fun to read to children, including the very young. The love behind the book shines through.
The book first explains a “you are here” overview of the universe. Then, it briefly introduces the many wonders of the Earth — the varying geography, the many people, and how things generally go during our lives here. It notes that while many things are worked out quite nicely, there are problems awaiting solutions yet.
So, to finish, it backs up and explains that all these wonders are here on our own little planet, suggesting that we might choose to spend our lives working toward those still-waiting solutions, and should leave some notes for those who follow.
Clearly this book is just such a note, and such a warm and welcome one at that.
I like how the book opens up conversations with my children. We’ve talked about the different kinds of people and animals shown. The variety is delightful — beekeepers, Eskimos, sumo wrestlers, nurses, deep-sea divers, whales, bald eagles, camels, owls, and on and on. Each one is an explanation in itself. One image of a French soldier led to an extended series of stories about my time living overseas. Priceless.
In fact, we’ve begun referencing the book’s mention of water, wetlands, the oceans, and the mysteries of sea life, with our upcoming vacation to the seaside, where I grew up. I am telling my older children stories about the fish and creatures I discovered as a child, looking off the side of my family’s dock — from large sharks, to tiny pipe fish, to the abundance of barnacles, clams, sea weeds, and other odd-looking creatures living a life apart, yet inches away, under the sea.
I am grateful for “Here We Are” — which seems to me an instant classic — and the warm experiences and conversations it has brought into our home.