Saturday, May 26, 2018

Earth Verse: Haiku from the Ground Up by Sally M. Walker, illustrated by William Grill

Earth Verse: Haiku from the Ground Up by Sally M. Walker, 
illustrated by William Grill
2018, Candlewick Press, 48 pages

Imagine taking something as large as planet Earth and capturing its essence, its beauty, and its wonder in the image-creating precision of the haiku. Well, that is just what Sally Walker has done in Earth Verse and my young readers love it. Walker begins with Earth's place in the solar system:

"third one from the sun,
Earth's blue and white majesty
dwarfs her lunar child"

From the view in space, Walker heads right to the center of her subject:

"fragile outer crust,
shell around mantle and core -
Earth: a hard-boiled egg"

Once the basics are introduced, Walker begins to explore eight of Earth's geological and meteorological events that have formed and continue to form the world in which we live. And she really knows her subject - Walker majored in Geology in college.

First thing you will notice, is that at the beginning of the book, there is a series of eight circular pictures (Earth's symbol is on the title page):
Symbol Key: top left to right Minerals, Rocks, Fossils, Earthquakes
bottom left to right: Volcanoes, Atmospheric and Surface Water, Glaciers, Groundwater
Each symbol corresponds to a different topic covered.  Then, as you read, look at the bottom right hand corner of each page and you will find one of these symbols. This tells the reader that they can find more factual information about each of these natural phenomena in the back matter, along with some Suggestions for Further Reading.

I introduced this book to my young readers because of the volcanic activity the began in April 2018 on the Hawaiian island of Kilauea and the subsequent earthquakes that caused even more volcanic activity:

"hotheaded mountain
loses its cool, spews ash cloud
igneous tantrum"

"energy unleashed
shoots waves through the brittle crust -
trees topple down cliffs"

As you can see, Earth Verse provided us wth not just an interesting, excellent introduction to Earth Science, but I also used it as a vocabulary lesson (yes, I had to look up more words than just igneous, too), an art lesson, a lesson on writing poetry, and, right now, it worked as a current events lesson.

William Grill's color pencil illustrations mirror the soft, rhythmic flow of the haiku form at the same time that it captures the essence of these geological wonders.

Earth Verse is a beautifully done work of nonfiction at its best and it definitely will be used again and again. It would be a any welcomed addition to any classroom, home school, or personal library. I combined Earth Verse with Jason Chin's equally breathtaking book Grand Canyon, for an broader picture of the natural world we live in.

This book is recommended for readers age 7+
This book was provided to me by the publisher, Candlewick Press

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