Review of Hello, Earth!: Poems to Our Planet

Hello, Earth!: Poems to Our Planet
by Joyce Sidman; illus. by Miren Asiain Lora
Primary, Intermediate    Eerdmans    72 pp.    g
2/21    978-0-8028-5528-2    $18.99

Sidman’s collection of short poems considers a variety of earth science concepts. On gorgeously illustrated pages that portray the planet in terms of space and time, weather and astronomical phenomena, and land and the oceans, the narrator continuously addresses Earth directly, as if in conversation with a respected friend, asking how Earth feels about these wonders. These questions are deeply philosophical, sometimes spiritual, and consistently scientific. On gravity: “How can we be / here, / climbing trees, walking paths, / staring up at constellations… / and also out / in deepest space? / Does that mean / that each one of us / is floating among the stars?” The human and Earth connection is emphasized throughout, and culminates in yet another thought-provoking question: “Do you think we can do it, / Earth? / Can we work as hard / for you / as we do for ourselves?” Asiain Lora’s double-page illustrations are strongly horizontal, with blue skies, space, and oceans layered above landscapes that reflect balance and connection in the natural and built environments. Does Earth reply? Sidman is satisfied that “you answer in other ways”: through displays of natural powers in water, wind, and weather. “Maybe your answers / are just /what we need / to make us / stop / and look / and think / about how / ­wondrous you are.” Additional explanations of the science can be found in the back matter.

From the July/August 2021 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Danielle J. Ford
Danielle J. Ford
Danielle J. Ford is a Horn Book reviewer and an associate professor of Science Education at the University of Delaware.

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