Earth! My First 4.54 Billion Years (Our Universe #1)

by Stacy McAnulty (Author) David Litchfield (Illustrator)

Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade
Series: Our Universe

A lighthearted nonfiction picture book about the formation and history of the Earth--told from the perspective of the Earth itself!

Hi, I'm Earth! But you can call me Planet Awesome. Prepare to learn all about Earth from the point-of-view of Earth herself! In this funny yet informative book, filled to the brim with kid-friendly facts, readers will discover key moments in Earth's life, from her childhood more than four billion years ago all the way up to present day. Beloved children's book author Stacy McAnulty helps Earth tell her story, and award-winning illustrator David Litchfield brings the words to life.

The book includes back matter with even more interesting tidbits. This title has Common Core connections.

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Publishers Weekly

Starred Review

McAnulty (Mr. Fuzzbuster Knows He's the Favorite) and Litchfield (Miss Muffet, or What Came After) cast planet Earth as an exuberant celestial body with bright brown eyes and a broad smile, who couldn't be happier to share its life story. There's family (dwarf planet Pluto "is more like the family dog"), favorite activities (spinning, circling the sun), and the whole process of growing up: "I don't remember what it was like to be a baby. Who does? But I've been told I was a hot mess." (A photo album shows the planet as an infant with a pacifier; the accompanying text reads, "Explosive. Gassy! Very cranky.") Litchfield's mixed-media cartoons work in perfect sync with the irreverent narration to share geological tidbits with panache; on one spread, a ruler represents the timeline of the planet's existence, labeled to note when air, plants, animals, and humans showed up. Despite brief references to past extinctions and current environmental threats, the mood is largely upbeat, and a closing spread includes more detailed information about Earth and its inhabitants. Terrifically entertaining. Ages 4-8. Author's agent: Lori Kilkelly, Rodeen Literary Management. Illustrator's agent: Anne Moore Armstrong, Bright Groups. (Oct.)

Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

K-Gr 4 Ink-and-watercolor illustrations combine with a first-person narrative in this autobiography of Earth, who says, "You can call me Planet Awesome." Facts about Earth's favorite activities, such as spinning, circling the sun, and hanging out with the moon are mentioned. The process of the planet forming and cooling is shown as photos in a scrapbook. A time line chronicles the development of air, plants, and animals with a comment for each milestone ("My first dinosaur!"). The end of the dinosaurs is shown in a spread with Earth fearfully watching an angry asteroid hurtling closer. Younger readers learn basic facts, such as the names of the planets in the solar system or that it takes 29 days for the moon to orbit the earth. Older students will enjoy the personification of the planet and the humor of the narrative. For instance, Earth remarks that "animals are nice. But they mostly eat and poop and never wonder about my amazing life." There are also details in the illustrations (an image of the Beatles) that will amuse observant readers and adults. Back matter includes information on the continents, Earth's location in space, extinction events, and a list of sources. There is also a brief author's note addressed to "alien visitors," aka readers. VERDICT A humorous approach to planetary facts for the elementary grades.—Suzanne Costner, Fairview Elementary School, Maryville, TN

Copyright 2017 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

A Junior Library Guild Selection

McAnulty and Litchfield cast planet Earth as an exuberant celestial body with bright brown eyes and a broad smile, who couldn't be happier to share its life story...Terrifically entertaining. —Publishers Weekly, starred review

A humorous approach to planetary facts for the elementary grades. —School Library Journal

Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Henry Holt & Company
Publication date
October 24, 2017
Our Universe
BISAC categories
JNF051080 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Science & Nature | Earth Sciences - General
JNF051040 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Science & Nature | Astronomy
Library of Congress categories
Earth sciences
Earth (Planet)

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