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ON THIS SPOT by Susan Goodman


An Expedition Back Through Time

by Susan Goodman & illustrated by Lee Christiansen

Age Range: 5 - 8

Pub Date: April 1st, 2004
ISBN: 0-688-16913-9
Publisher: Greenwillow

Goodman follows the midtown area of New York City from the present day backwards, in irregular increments, to the Paleozoic era, providing “snapshots” of evolution along the timeline. The conclusion conveys the notion of constant transformation coming full circle beyond the present—when things will be different still. Goodman keeps the information about each historic era brief but engaging: “20,000 years ago . . . glaciers were so thick they would have buried today’s tallest buildings.” Conceptually, this measures the brevity of human history (four double-paged spreads) against the expanse of natural history (the rest of the work). For a generation that is sensitive to global warming, Christiansen’s pastels dramatize the climatic shifts, which could scarcely be more extreme. Full-bleed illustrations contain the words “170 million years ago . . . ” at the upper left and “but on this spot . . . ” at the lower right, giving readers both patterned repetition and a feeling of expectancy when turning the pages. With several points of access, this is not only illuminating but intriguing. (timeline, acknowledgements) (Picture book/nonfiction. 5-8)