Author: Julian Lennon and Bart Davis
Illustrator: Smiljana Coh
Publisher: Sky Pony Press, 2017
Genre: picture book (ages 3-6)
Obtained: advanced copy from publisher
Summary: Children get on board a magical plane and go on an adventure to provide water to people that need it, clean the ocean to protect the fish, irrigate the desert, and deliver a filtration machine to those in need of clean water.
Thoughts: Touch the Earth is the first book in a trilogy of similarly themed picture books that will be released for each Earth Day over the next three years beginning in April 2017. Touch the Earth was inspired by a white feather. John Lennon, Julian Lennon's father, told his son that if he passed away he would let Julian know that everything would be okay through a white feather. While on a tour in Australia Julian was presented with a white feather by an Aboriginal tribal elder seeking help for her tribe. This white feather was also the inspiration for the creation of the White Feather Foundation, which Julian established in 2007. It is an organization that supports both people and the environment. All proceeds from the sale of Touch the Earth go to the White Feather Foundation.
Touch the Earth is interactive, playful, and educational. Children are encouraged to touch the pictures. They can press "buttons" and tilt the book to fly the White Feather Flyer, a magical plane. They can also make things happen on the next page by shaking the book and pressing "buttons". The book uses mostly simple language that children can relate to such as "yucky", but introduces some more complex words such as "filtration" and "irrigation", explaining them in a way that kids can understand. The book attempts to teach cardinal directions (north, south, east, and west), which I believe is very hard for young children to comprehend. At first it shows a compass and has kids point to the directions, which was good, but later it has them tilting the book north to take the plane into the air and south to land it. I think the authors should have stuck with up and down for take-off and landing.
This book introduces simple concepts:
1. People need clean water. Not everyone has it. There are ways to get it to them.
2. Fish need clean water. We need to keep it clean for them.
3. We all can and should help keep the earth clean.
4. All of us should help others.
Touch the Earth helps promote discussion with children about all sorts of things- the earth, the world, the environment, how others live, natural resources, water, airplanes, directions, parachutes, diversity, etc....
The illustrations in this book are colorful and the White Feather Flyer has eyes and looks very friendly. The people are all different colors and show diversity in a simple way. On Smiljana Coh's website it is written that she combines traditional and digital illustration in her art. The cover is a great representation of the artwork found inside. In the back of the book is a poem and personal message written by Julian Lennon.
This is a book for ages 3-6. I like that it is interactive, that it very simply touches on some big ideas, and that it provides families with many topics for further discussion. There is no tea review today. This is a book to enjoy with a cold glass of water.