NONFICTION

It Started with a Big Bang: The Origin of Earth, You and Everything Else

Kids Can. Oct. 2019. 34p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781525302558.
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K-Gr 3–Written in the present tense, this accessible book explains the big bang theory. Dramatic pictures work in tandem with the clear text to reenact the explosive origin of the universe. Earth’s many transformations are shown with deeply saturated color illustrations from its fiery beginning, to the emergence of land and sea, to the gradual development of plant and animal life, to extreme climate variations, and, eventually, to the appearance of humans with their distinctive capacity to learn, invent, and communicate through reading and writing. Kids eager to know what happened to the dinosaurs will be satisfied by the spread depicting a giant rock crashing down and Bal’s simple explanation: “Tough break for the dinosaurs—their time is up.” Less convincing is the reference to Earth as a “big tangled web.” It’s a repeating phrase that lends a lyrical quality to the narrative but one that could have used a bit more explanation.
VERDICT Overall this is a fine introduction to a complex topic and one that is suitable for children in the primary grades.

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