Our Planet

Lee’s board book offers a wordless tale of the way that humans treat, or, rather, mistreat, the planet. The book has a circular hole in the middle representing the Earth. Around the edges of that circle we see plant life developing, as the pages are turned, followed by the building of houses, environmental catastrophe and a second cycle of sustainable growth in which people work more harmoniously with nature.

Whilst the blurb argues that the book does not pass judgement, the illustrated disaster suggests otherwise and offers an image of the consequences of global warming. The illustrations are delicate and effective, with the palette moving from green to grey to blue and ending with a mixture of colours, again implying sustainability. The main thrust of the narrative gives the child reader the responsibility for undoing the damage done to the planet by previous generations, a heavy burden. Whilst this is a board book, it would best be explored with slightly older children in the 0-4 range  and would probably be best used with 5-7 year olds, given that the graceful pictures offer a stark and challenging near future and a longer term future in which the reader has a vast role with regard to environmental issues. This is a potentially useful book which could be used to initiate environmental discussions with younger readers.