Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth

Jeffers, Oliver (Author/Illustrator)
HarperCollins 2017. 44 pages
First published: 2017
ISBN: 9780008266165 (hardcover)
9780008266189 (e-book)
Original language: English
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

setting

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

Life, the universe—and everything—is the subject of this enjoyable discourse, structured as a father’s advice to his newborn infant. Starting with a general map of our solar system “ONE of MILLIONS, BILLIONS, TRILLIONS … PROBABLY NOT TO SCALE,” humorous language conveys basic characteristics of planet Earth: “Hot,” “Pointy,” ‘Bumpy,” “Cold,” humans: “We may all look different, act different and sound different … But don’t be fooled, we are all people,” animal life: “They can’t speak, though that’s no reason not to be nice to them” and more.

Artful and winsome illustrations use vibrant colours in painterly effects and pencil markings to create detailed scenes and annotated diagrams. One image depicts an enormous purple dome of a head containing a whirling medley of baby bottle, mountaintops, a moustache and many more objects and ideas: “You may not be able to speak yet either, even though your head is filled with questions.”

The shift from physical to philosophical is completed with contrasting scenes of a peaceful meadow and a bustling city: “We haven’t quite worked everything out, so there is plenty left for you to do.” The story ends with a call for local and global community, as images portray an endless queue of people—from family members to a range of unique characters of different cultures, circumstances and creeds—all available to answer the child’s questions: “You’re never alone on Earth.”

  •  “We may all look different, act different and sound different. But don’t be fooled, we are all people.” Discuss what this might mean.
  •  

    What would you tell someone who is new to this planet? Write a story in which someone comes from another planet and you have to give them information that is key to getting by on Earth.

  •  

    This story explores numerous scientific concepts and terminology. What did you wonder about when reading? What questions do you have? Research answers for some of your queries and share your findings.

  •  

    “We haven’t quite worked everything out, so there is plenty left for you to do.” What does Jeffers mean by this? List what you think is still left to be done on Earth and propose possible solutions.

  •  

    Based on the cover, make predictions about what you will find inside.

  •  

    Discuss which text is informational and which is humorous. If you could be anywhere in the book, on which page would you like to be? Discuss why. On the pages with people and animals, work with a partner to name the jobs, activities, countries of origin, etc.

  •  

    This story explores numerous scientific concepts and terminology. What did you wonder about when reading? What questions do you have? Research answers for some of your queries and share your findings.

  •  

    Did the author forget to mention anything in his presentation of our world to a newcomer? Add a page to the book with this information.

  • To exercise critical judgment
  • To use information
  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Ethics and Religious Culture
  • Science and Technology