Under Earth, Under Water by Aleksandra Mizielinski, Daniel Mizielinski and Antonia Lloyd-Jones (translator)
|Under Earth, Under Water by Aleksandra Mizielinski, Daniel Mizielinski and Antonia Lloyd-Jones (translator)|
|Category: Children's Non-Fiction|
|Reviewer: John Lloyd|
|Summary: A fabulous and luxurious volume giving the young a grounding in so many subjects under the radar of lesser books.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 112||Date: March 2016|
|Publisher: Templar Publishing|
|External links: Author's website|
One of the major remits of children's non-fiction books is to get them to look around them and gain a better understanding of what they're seeing. After a volume such as this, the obvious response is to see that as an incredibly narrow focus. For this book will take the reader and show them exactly what they can't see – from microscopic things living in soil even seasoned Scrabble players haven't heard of, right down to the fish swimming their way towards the Mariana Trench, the deepest section of sea on earth. Make no bones about it, this book is entirely focused on what is beneath our feet and sea levels, and – no pie in the sky response this – it is a winner.
To start with, the fabric of the book is excellent. It's a jumbo hardback you have to position in landscape format, to open up every massive double-page spread. When you have sunk through the earth (pages numbered courtesy of ants) you hit the centre of our planet, where just a nudge about the place closest to said centre (a place which may not be where you think) means you turn the whole book round, flipping it over to start again in the shallows and work your way down (pages numbered by fishies). Every page is a wonderful drawing, being a cut-through planet, or a haphazard selection of divers' suits or submarines. There are countless little bits of design to spot and point at, and the script is scattered around with equal abandon.
Only once did the artwork not quite work for me – a schematic of the sewage system, which seemed to suggest everything once it left the house happens underground – well, it is beneath the house but that's all. Generally things are fine – not too cartoonish, and definitely stylised but not overly so. The whole winning side of the book for me, however, was the variety and scope it features. Just the underground half covers everything from burrowing animals, to different plant roots (Scrabble words ahoy, again), to subterranean utilities and trains, from fossils to the world's deepest cave, through so much more I could only be impressed. Aquatically, we have underwater geography, fauna, how oil rigs stay in place – and the Titanic. Nothing strikes you as inappropriate for the primary school audience, neither can I think of anything that seems left out.
More superlatives – I read this in the very week the world's longest transport tunnel was officially opened. It's in here. But if you want to know where the deepest subway station is, or read about the record dive that took 14 minutes to get down – and 13 hours to return, then you can probably look elsewhere, but you might as well stick here. For being two books in one, for opening the invisible world to view so effortlessly, and for combining so many diverse trivial-seeming subjects that can only spark off further research, this has to be a winner.
I must thank the publishers for my review copy.
The Drop in My Drink by Meredith Hooper and Chris Coady is a great look at the science of drinking water – which is but a tiny fraction of the H20 around us.
You can read more book reviews or buy Under Earth, Under Water by Aleksandra Mizielinski, Daniel Mizielinski and Antonia Lloyd-Jones (translator) at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Under Earth, Under Water by Aleksandra Mizielinski, Daniel Mizielinski and Antonia Lloyd-Jones (translator) at Amazon.com.
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