The Street Beneath My Feet

illus. by Yuval Zommer. 20p. words & pictures. Mar. 2017. Tr $22.95. ISBN 9781682971369.
Gr 2–4—This informative oversize book takes curious readers on a journey to the center of the earth and back. A boy walks down a noisy city street, his red sneakers pounding the pavement, and he wonders, "What's going on deep in the ground?" Level by level, he describes what can be found beneath his feet. Beginning with cables and pipes, earthworms and insects, then moving on to subway systems and the artifacts of lost civilizations, the boy delves deeper and deeper, highlighting the unique characteristics of each layer of the earth's crust, mantle, and core. Replete with intriguing scientific facts, this engrossing title offers a fine overview of basic earth science. The intricate illustrations deftly reinforce the text, which is scattered from top to bottom throughout each spread. The pictures flow seamlessly from one layer to the next, drawing viewers' eyes down the page. The many atmospheric details inspire closer examination of each underground level. Observant readers will spot centipedes and sewer rats, ancient helmets and coins, fish swimming in an underground river, sparkling gems and gleaming metals, fossilized shells and preserved skeletons, and, closest to the surface, burrowing forest animals. The foldout design of the book does make turning the pages a bit awkward. However, unfolding the entire accordion and stretching it out on the floor allow for a more comfortable reading experience.
VERDICT This scientific exploration is a good choice for most libraries and provides a captivating snapshot of myriad popular topics, covering everything from plant and animal life, rock formations, and plate tectonics to archaeology, paleontology, and mineralogy. Aspiring scientists will enjoy the journey and want to pore over the pages.

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