Over billions of years of history, Earth has undergone amazing changes.
With a lyrical text and 16 illustrations bleeding across each spread, this picture book surveys the immense stretch of time between the formation of the Earth and the heavily populated planet we know today. Gladstone’s free-verse poem describes stages: lifeless molten rock and poison gas; mountains forming; rain filling the oceans; life beginning as “mats of slimy green” and “mounds of strange rock”; oxygen filling the air; life evolving in the oceans and then on land; species living, thriving, and dying; until, finally, the species we know today appear, including “people like you and me.” Concluding that “human life is a speck in time in the history of old Earth,” the author reminds readers that Earth is “greener and bluer, / more comfortable and much cooler” than it was billions of years ago when it was new. A final spread repeats all the illustrations as thumbnails, asking readers to look again for specific details the painter included. Created using a mix of ink, collage, and digital media, Diemert’s images are allusive and striking. The text is set on a band of color that matches the dominant color of each painting. The narrative, though simple, is relatively accurate, reflecting current scientific thinking.
A dramatic demonstration of geologic time for thoughtful readers and listeners. (glossary, author’s note, sources) (Informational picture book. 5-10)