Where in the World Are You?

Where in the World are You?
Marie G. Rohde
What on Earth Books

In her cleverly designed, playful exploration of our world and our place therein, Marie G. Rohde places a cat centre stage.

We first see said creature sitting beneath a table, a wobbly table, which stands on a blue rug. The viewpoint gradually zooms further and further out and readers join the cat on a journey of discovery as it ventures through the green door, out of the flat and into the big wide world,

until eventually we are out in the expanding universe of which the Milky Way is a part; so too are we humans, each and every one of us and we are all connected.

This is a book that arose out of the Covid-19 lockdowns and people’s feelings all over the world of being stuck inside, but its invitation to youngsters to be outward looking and to think about their place in the world is important at any time.

The simple question and answer text and bold, bright scenes that effectively put into perspective the vastness of our world, is a great starting point for discussions with young children either at home or in the classroom, especially as the final spread sets the scene in its concluding, “Now, where are YOU?’ Young readers will also enjoy searching for the black cat in almost every scene; its whereabouts is not always easy to find.

Planet SOS

Planet SOS
Marie G. Rohde
What on Earth Books

Our planet is under serious threat, most of us would acknowledge that and in her cleverly conceived book Marie Rohde presents 22 different aspects of this alarming crisis in a novel manner giving each a distinct persona – monsters inspired by mythology, fairy tale, folklore and popular culture, making the whole enterprise accessible as well as unique.

So let’s now hear from some of these dastardly creatures that speak directly to us.

The depletion of the ozone layer is the work of the Ozone Serpent chomping its way through earth’s protective gaseous layer.

Atmosdragon is a bragging beast that talks of human actions causing the release of greenhouse gases and global warming. Like all the others this speaker has relied on a close alliance with we humans, and is starting to fear for its continuing existence. Like all the others too, Atmosdragon is accompanied by an identity card ‘with a host of symbols (there’s a key for interpretation), icons showing the activities that can halt, or hinder further environmental harm.

Deforestation is the world of the Logre. This destructive beastie lays waste forests for agriculture, timber production and development, boasting that human efforts to halt its damage are futile. We must prove Logre wrong, for the absorption of carbon dioxide is crucial.

Monsters lurk in the water too; take the Plaken with its all-invading tentacles formed from thousands of tonnes of plastic debris – a massive threat to marine life and birds.

The illustrations are truly arresting and we’re also shown a small vignette of each mythical being that was the inspiration for the particular menacing monster sprawling across much of its double spread.

The three final spreads give a world map marking the locations of the various monsters with a time line indicating when the particular ecological threats were first recognised, a glossary and a card index of all the beasties and how they might be defeated.

There is a huge amount of information packed between the covers of this book that will surely galvanise young eco-warriors. It’s rich in potential for cross-curricular exploration in school too.