Earth, Sea & Stars
Isabel Otter, illustrated by Ana Sender
This anthology of twenty stories from ancient cultures takes readers on a journey around the world and back in time to when tales such as these would likely have been told among people sitting around a fire. A time when humankind’s respect for, and awe of, the natural world was greater than it is today.
From as far afield as Syria, Scotland and South Sudan, Nigeria and Norway to name just some of the places from which these stories have come, we encounter a life-saving baboon with a lesson to teach a farmer in a Swahili tale,
an armadillo that uses her knowledge of plants to outwit a fox in the Argentinian Pampas, an ant that comes to the aid of King Lion (from Myanmar) and discover how the people came to have light, warmth and power thanks to a spider’s ingenuity, a woodpecker’s strength and a young woman’s bravery (the Democratic Republic of Congo).
Flora feature prominently in The Flower Thief (Syria) that demonstrates the vital importance of stewardship; The Sky Garden – a Dreamtime tale; and from Tahiti comes a beautiful tale of a Banyan Tree with its amazing roots.
After the moving tellings themselves, Isabel Otter offers some background details, a spread of thought-provoking questions to consider (one per story) – great for classroom discussions, and a bibliography. Ana Sender’s stunning illustrations grace almost every spread of this collection that as well as being a joy to read and to share, is a reminder that wherever we are we should treat our precious planet and the living things thereon with the care it needs to survive and thrive.