How Did Humans Go Extinct?

by Johnny Marciano (Author) Paul Hoppe (Illustrator)

How Did Humans Go Extinct?
Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

Let's learn about the most mystifying species to ever walk the Earth!

Plib is like every other Nøørfbløøk kid on Earth, except for one thing. He loves humans--those horrible, terrifying monsters who dominated the planet ten million years ago. Only one thing about the humans bothers Plib. What happened to them all? Did they turn the planet into an uninhabitable wasteland? Or did they turn on each other? Or did the humans die out because of something else they did--or didn't--do?

Find the answer in How Did Humans Go Extinct?

Publishers Weekly

Ten billion years after humans disappeared from Earth, young Plib finds them immensely appealing. A member of now dominant species the Nøørfbløøks, purportedly descended from frogs, Plib loves the book How Do Humans Say Goodnight?, and "his favorite stuffie was a human named Frank," writes Marciano (the Witches of Benevento series). A field trip to the human exhibit at the Natural History Museum is right up Plib's alley ("Humans came out of their mothers ALREADY ALIVE!"). Hoppe's (Good Vibrations) fine-lined, futuristic pages take on a surfeit of sly detail, showing people sporting a mishmash of costumes--a feathered and furred figure wears a jacket, kilt, swim flipper, and ski. But Plib is deeply unsettled by the mystery of human extinction, and his mother's initial explanations--climate change, war, greed--seem to upset him even more. Mom's own belief, however, is that humans actually "learned how to survive in peace and harmony" until a giant asteroid crashed into Earth and wiped them out--an answer that gives Plib the closure he needs to fall asleep. Readers will undoubtedly see the parallels with their own dinosaur fandom, but it's a toss-up as to whether the ending will be a source of giggles or hit a little too close to home. Ages 3-7. (Oct.)

Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

K-Gr 2--In 10 million years, humanity as we know it will cease to exist, replaced by anamorphic frog-like green beings called Norflbooks. In this new version of Earth, humans are regarded and depicted as a monstrous, uncaring species whose extinction is caused by pollution and conflict. They are, as it turns out in the Norflbook world, speculative legend without redemptive qualities. This is true for all except Plib, a young Norflbook so excited about humans that he even owns stuffed toy humans. A trip to the "Human Exhibit" in the Natural History Museum incites such curiosity that he resolves to find out what happened to the humans by asking his mother. Hoppe's ( Last But Not Least Lola) illustrations are comical, yet also bleakly illuminate the dangers of being unkind to the environment and to one another. The humans on display in the Natural History Museum are exaggerated images of what the Norflbooks think humans looked like, as well as items that have contributed to pollution. It is a clever, if not scary, way to bring awareness to the very real threats to humanity posed by war, climate change, and capitalism. VERDICT A compelling and unique dystopian sci-fi picture book for early school age readers, this is recommended for all collections.--Tamela Chambers, Chicago P.L.

Copyright 2021 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes


Johnny Marciano

Paul Hoppe has illustrated various children's books, including Good Vibrations (song lyrics by Mike Love and Brian Wilson), Neymar: A Soccer Dream Come True, and The Woods, which he also wrote. His work has appeared in publications such as the New Yorker, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times. During the summer, Hoppe teaches sequential art at the School of Visual Arts. His work has been honored by the Society of Illustrators, Communication Arts, and American Illustration, among others. Originally from Poland and raised in Germany, Hoppe works from a shared studio in the Pencil Factory in Brooklyn, and lives in Queen

Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Publication date
October 20, 2021

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