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.
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, TNCopyright 2017 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.
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