Davies, Nicola. Many: The Diversity of Life on Earth. Emily Sutton, Illus. Picture Book. Candlewick, 11/2017. pp. $15.99. 978-0-7636-9483-8. OUTSTANDING. GRADES PRE-2.
The author/illustrator duo behind Tiny Creatures: The Microbes of the World (2014) have teamed up again for this gorgeous look at diversity and the interconnectedness of life on earth. Emily Sutton’s stunning watercolor illustrations and zoologist Nicola Davies’s easy-to-understand science make this book accessible even for the youngest readers and listeners. The narrative follows a young red-headed girl as she seeks to answer the book’s opening question: How many different kinds of living things are there on our planet? As we follow the notebook-toting girl past species big and small, interesting and accessible side-notes inform the reader about everything from lichen beetles to over-fishing. Readers discover that “every kind of living thing is part of a big, beautiful, complicated pattern” and that reckless human behavior threatens nature’s bounty. The book ends with a reminder that “human beings are part of the pattern, too,” leaving open a big discussion of ecology and human responsibility.
Iris Meinolf, Marin County Free Library