FICTION

My Friend Earth

Chronicle. Feb. 2020. 44p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780811879101.
COPY ISBN
PreS-Gr 2–Earth is personified as a girl of color, a giantess with black, wavy hair and dark eyes. An unseen narrator describes her actions throughout the cycle of the seasons, starting with spring. In the first as well as the final scene, Earth is observed sleeping under a blanket of snow. Die cuts, flaps, and curved page contours yield surprises, e.g., Earth’s hair and the shoreline form an undulating line that appears to be part of a single page, but it actually interacts with the following one, creating an illusion. Black, white, and various shades of green, brown, gold, and coral comprise the palette. Flat colors provide rest from a plethora of patterns. MacLachlan’s language is evocative, a gift to the ear: “She tends the prairie where sun-dappled wild horses run through grasses that swish against their legs…and the glistening ice where the young polar bear pads on mittened feet.” Curving phrases and free verse formations add to the lyrical quality. Generally presented as a benevolent being, Earth is sometimes shown bringing too much water or wind, but she remedies the damage. There are no dire environmental predictions here, but rather an appreciation of various biomes and the creatures that abide therein.
VERDICT A beautifully designed ode to the planet—perfect for celebrating Earth Day or anytime.

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