Meanwhile Back On Earth

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meanwhile back on ear

A spectacular new picture book from the creator of international bestsellers Here We Are and What We’ll Build that will give readers perspective on our place in space.

A father takes his two children on a thrilling out-of-this-world adventure into space and invites them to look back at Earth and the conflicts that have taken place since the beginning of time. This becomes a brief history of the world and a guide to the universe, told with Oliver Jeffers's inimitable perspective, wit, and exquisite artwork.

Meanwhile Back on Earth gives a unique look at life on Earth with a cosmic perspective—and an enduring message that what binds us together matters more than what sets us apart. A timely story for families everywhere.---from the publisher

64 pages                                              978-0593621523                                                  Ages 4-9

Keywords: space, planets, peace, Earth, world history, politics, acceptance, 5 year old,  6 year old, 7 year old, 8 year old

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"In all the cosmos, this one place in our solar system is where all of the people have lived for the whole time we've been people. We have always thought that Earth is so big that it's best to divide it into smaller bits/ It seems we humans have always fought each other over space."

And so, taking the well-known quote from Edgar Mitchell, Lunar Module Pilot on Apollo 14 in February 1971, who said, " From out there on the moon, international politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, "Look at that..." as inspiration, Oliver Jeffers has created  this intriguing book in which a father takes his two children on a thrilling out-of-this-world adventure into space and invites them to look back at Earth and the conflicts that have taken place since the beginning of time.

Calculating time using the speed that most people drive at (37mph or 60kph),  he drives the children to the various planets and then takes them back a similar amount of time in Earth's history to show the conflict that was occurring at the time. So driving to the Moon would take a year and then a left turn would be a 78 year drive to Venus which would take them back to the middle of the 20th century and World War II. Each destination is tied to something catastrophic happening on Earth.

While this is an interesting way of looking at history, the ultimate futility of conflict and encouraging young readers to strive for peace in the future, the concept is quite abstract, almost esoteric and thus more suited to older readers who have the maturity and ability to look at things from beyond their realm of personal experience. Although the text appears simple, and Jeffers has added some wit to lighten the load, and a timeline on the endpapers encapsulates both the time and space aspects of the journey, this is one best shared in a situation where discussion and clarification can take place. ---from the publisher

Recommended by:  Barbara Braxton, Teacher Librarian, New South Wales AUSTRALIA

See more of her recommendations:

500 Hats http://500hats.edublogs.org/

The Bottom Shelf http://thebottomshelf.edublogs.org/

Storybook Cushions http:// bit.ly/storybook_cushions

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