Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth

Oliver Jeffers. Philomel, $19.99 (48p) ISBN 978-0-399-16789-8
"These are the things I think you need to know," writes Jeffers (A Child of Books), dedicating this contemplative and heartfelt book to his young son. Each spread highlights aspects of this planet or life on it: the solar system, people and animals, the way time can seem to move slowly or quickly. "Use your time well," he advises. "It will be gone before you know it." Throughout, Jeffers channels the voice of an adult who knows things but perhaps still struggles to find the right words to explain them: "Generally how it works is that when the sun is out, it is daytime, and we do stuff." After discussing land, sea, and sky, he admits that the sky "can get pretty complicated" (dotted lines separate the "air we breathe" from the "stratosthingy" and "outer space," among other labeled celestial and meteorological entities). Moments of human intimacy jostle with scenes that inspire cosmic awe, and the broad diversity of Jeffers's candy-colored humans—musicians, hijabis, nuns, explorers, potentates—underscores the twin messages that "You're never alone on Earth" and that we're all in this together. Ages 3-7. Agent: Paul Moreton, Bell Lomax Moreton Agency. (Nov.)

The publication month of this book has been updated.

Reviewed on: 10/30/2017
Release date: 11/14/2017
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