The Living Earth
Digital version – browse, print or download
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This issue’s cover is from Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s Monkey Puzzle. Written in rhyme, this agreeable story has butterfly helping little monkey to find his mum. Scheffler’s distinctive, entertaining and strongly characterised illustrations make good use of the page as little monkey meets lots of jungle inhabitants before being reunited with his mum. Thanks to Macmillan Children’s Books for their help in producing this July cover.
As the back cover blurb of this Swiss buy-in says, this book tells of the complex ecosystem beneath our feet and how people depend on the living earth. And indeed, it does both things but I found it a very mixed bag. The crayon artwork is pleasant but patchy - in places wonderfully detailed, as in the spread showing a close-up view of plants above and under the ground; in places, oddly empty and featureless. The text is stodgy and stiff and would perhaps benefit from a more narrative approach and a more imaginative presentation. The book could then work as picture book non-fiction for younger readers. At present, it is difficult to decide where its audience lies.