Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth

illus. by Oliver Jeffers. 48p. Philomel. Nov. 2017. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780399167898. POP
Baby-Toddler—Jeffers uses his clever, effervescent cartoon style to welcome a new baby to planet Earth, "the big globe, floating in space, on which we live." He makes an effort to impart "the things I think you need to know" on his infant son by giving him an overview of the landscape via diagrams and fun drawings and what he might expect to encounter as he grows and becomes more mobile ("we'll talk some more about [the sea] once you've learned to swim.") His words are by turns philosophical, humorous, and practical. "People come in many shapes, sizes and colors. We may all look different, act different and sound different…but don't be fooled, we are all people." He stresses the need to be patient, to use one's words, and to be kind. He encourages the child to ask questions and leave notes behind for those who follow. Most importantly, the child should remember to look after this lonely planet as it's "all we've got." The playful narrative and lovely warm palette of the artwork are inviting and the sage advice, while a bit beyond even the most precocious of babies, will appeal to hip new parents embarking on their own uncharted territory.
VERDICT A sweet and tender distillation of what every Earthling needs to know and might well spend a lifetime striving to achieve. A must-purchase for new parent shelves and anywhere the author's work is popular.

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