MANY: The Diversity of Life on Earth written by zoologist and author Nicola Davies and illustrated by Emily Sutton is a visually powerful journey through forests, deserts, oceans and streams to find the interconnectedness of all living things. The book’s tour guide is a young determined girl, clip board in hand, who travels everywhere looking and seeing, taking notes and voicing discoveries. Young readers will find her observations fascinating and genuine.
She can be seen in the beautiful watercolors earnestly following her curiosity amongst the trees, the birds, the animals, the insects and the creatures of the sea. She reads books about mushrooms (there are 100,000 different kinds), takes a hot air balloon ride to view birds that live at the top of trees and chases down feather mites with her binoculars. She suits up and dives deeply into the ocean to watch starfish play as angel fish, sharks, stingrays and seahorses swim.
There are two pages devoted to over 30 creatures that have been discovered in just the last fifty years! The illustrations will give young readers perhaps their first view of these creatures such as the spongebob fungus, the pignose frog and the shocking pink dragon millipede.
The earth’s glorious pattern of diversity of life, however, is in jeopardy from chemicals, deforestation and over fishing. Our young travel guide and scientist-in-the-making sadly studies pictures of species that are already extinct including the Carolina Parakeet, the Tasmanian Wolf and the laughing owl.
MANY: The Diversity of Life on Earth written in a gentle style by Nicola Davies and illustrated in exquisite detail and color by Emily Sutton will engage readers 5-8 years of age (Candlewick Press, 2017).
Questions and activities for MANY: The Diversity of Life on Earth
Turn to the page where the author tells you that thousands of new species are discovered every year and the artist shows you over thirty species that have been discovered in the last fifty years. What a colorful group of air, land and sea creatures! Select one and do some further research about it (parents, grandparents and teachers can help). From information gathered as well as the illustration in this book draw your own picture of your selected creature. Take time with the details of your drawing including the habitat. Celebrate this new discovery!
Look at the double page that reads “every kind of living thing is part of a big, beautiful, complicated pattern.” Find these living things: A monkey eating fruit, a red frog resting on a leaf, a leopard stalking through the grass, a blue butterfly, a monkey swinging on a branch, a snake coiling around a tree, a toucan watching, a turtle swimming, an animal fishing, a parrot flying and the young girl with her clipboard?
Study the picture of the young girl sitting on a tree stump. What is she thinking about? How does she feel? How would you feel if you were sitting on this tree stump?