Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

This Is the Earth

Minor, Wendell (Illustrator)
HarperCollins 2016. 36 pages
First published: 2016
ISBN: 9780060555269 (hardcover)
Original language: English
Dewey: 304.2
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:

From the beginning of time, this book explores humanity’s relationship with Planet Earth.

The story is told in rhyming verse, giving the book a singsong feel. Like a three-part tune, the book begins with themes of healthy, unspoiled land, water and sky, then moves on to depict the devastating effects of industrial development. It closes with tips on how to live more sustainably.

Rhymes are reinforced by watercolour paintings that aptly favour earth tones. The opening lines, “This is the land,/fertile, alive,/crawling with creatures/that help it to thrive,” are paired with an illustration of proud jungle animals roaming the wilds.

Midway through the story, the mood darkens and the scene deteriorates dramatically. We now witness seagulls swooping over heaps of garbage, a dump truck, a tractor and billowing grey smoke: “This is the landfill,/a growing gray mound/of garbage that steams/on the sweltering ground.”

For the finale, the tune rings more optimistically, proposing a new vision. Paintings brighten, depicting signs of true progress—a recycling truck, cyclists, gardeners. Green is now the dominant colour. “This is the bicycle, racing to school;/the peddling rider provides all the fuel.”

The book closes with the hook line, “on this Earth that we share,” reinforcing the idea of humanity’s reciprocal relationship with the planet, and the role we all play in caring for our home.

  •  

    Brainstorm ways in which we are damaging our planet and what good we can do for it.

  •  

    On a picture walk, take notes on the colours and the changing nature of the drawings. Synthesize your thoughts in a short text to explain how illustrators convey the author’s message.

  •  

    Write about your feelings as you read. Make a T-chart. On one side, write details of what you see, and on the other, the feelings you have inside.

  •  

    Embark on an environmental project. Find a problem that needs addressing, large or small, and make a plan. Share your plan with other students to get feedback on how to improve it, then get started.

  •  

    On a picture walk, notice the change of tone from one page to the next. Describe the characters, settings and different elements in the book.

  •  

    Take a photo of your environment (park, backyard, etc.) or choose one from a teacher-selected website. Describe the picture using the author's “this is” sentence structure. Keep in mind it should be a reflection on environmental issues. Compile a class book.

  •  What does it mean to “go green”? Explore the concept with other students and make a poster with everyday solutions (using the book and your own ideas) to help our planet.
  • To communicate appropriately
  • To cooperate with others
  • To exercise critical judgment
  • To solve problems
  • To use information
  • Environmental Awareness and Consumer Rights and Responsibilities
  • Health and Well-Being
  • Ethics and Religious Culture
  • Visual Arts