This British import is an imaginatively constructed sequence of images that show a white boy examining a city pavement, clearly in London, and the sights he would see if he were able to travel down to the Earth’s core and then back again to the surface.
The geologic layers are depicted in 10 vertical spreads that require a 90-degree turn to be read and include endpapers, which open out, concertina fashion, to show the interior of the Earth to its core. Beneath the urban setting are drains, pipes, and artifacts of urban infrastructure. Below that, archaeological relics are revealed. An Underground train speeds by, and below it, a stalactite-encrusted cave yawns. Deep below the Earth’s crust, magma, the Earth’s mantle, and the inner core are shown. Turn the page to start going up again, back through the mantle to the crust, where precious minerals are revealed, then fossils, tree roots, and animal burrows, ending with the same boy in the English countryside. The painted, stenciled, and collaged illustrations are full-bleed, and the tones graduate pleasantly from light colors at the surface of the Earth to rich pinks, yellows, and oranges as readers near the Earth’s core. The text is informative, if lacking in poetry, including such nuggets as “earthworms are expert recyclers, eating dead plants in the soil.”
An unusual offering for the young geology nerd. (Informational picture book. 5-8)