cover image This Phenomenal Life: The Amazing Ways We Are Connected with Our Universe

This Phenomenal Life: The Amazing Ways We Are Connected with Our Universe

Misha Maynerick Blaise. Lyons, $14.95 trade paper (144p) ISBN 978-14930-2686-9

Blaise (My Wondrous Cloud Odyssey) provides illustrations for a trove of scientific facts to demonstrate how closely humans are intertwined with the natural world. Playing with both meanings of the word “phenomenal,” Blaise depicts dark skies dotted with stars, swirling currents, riotous flowers, and creatures from microorganisms to elephants—a vibrant visual world shared with ethnically and culturally diverse humans. Gentle whimsy prevails: a bewigged avian playing a harp illustrates an aspect of birdsong that’s similar to human music, while two people shyly sitting far apart are yet connected by their “microbial clouds.” Addressing such wide-ranging topics as the Big Bang, plant neurotransmitters, insect husbandry, hidden water footprints, and “mitochondrial Eve,” Blaise encourages a sense of wonder at the phenomenal world. “Even in an office with no windows,” she writes, “every breath we take contains trillions of air molecules that cycle through the world and connect us with life on Earth.” Blaise’s characters are almost all adults, but older children as well as grown-ups may enjoy this lovely graphic book, which offers a sweet-spirited reminder that all human beings are more alike than different, and that the entire cosmos is interconnected in ways we’re only beginning to comprehend. [em](Mar.) [/em]