Celebrate Earth with ‘B is for Blue Planet’

Someday, you’re going to get a really gi-normous gift.

It’s going to be the biggest present ever. It’s so big that it can’t be wrapped, so huge that you’ll have plenty to share with friends, brothers and sisters. This gift comes with a lot of responsibility, but you can handle it.

That’s because this gift is the Earth, and it will be all yours some day. So why not start being a good caretaker by reading “B is for Blue Planet” by Ruth Strother, illustrated by Bob Marstall?

If you’re like most kids, you love our planet. Maybe you even try to do good things for the Earth by picking up trash or celebrating Earth Day. But did you know that other than the grass and the trees, the Earth is made up of lots more?

Long ago, back when dinosaurs walked around, trees oozed sticky stuff that trapped bugs, flowers and leaves. The gooey material hardened, rock-like, and dropped to the ground. If you’re lucky and search carefully, you might find some of it: A is for Amber, which is what we call it.

And speaking of old hard rocks, I is for Igneous Rock, which was on Earth before the dinosaurs, and J is for Jurassic Period, which is the time when dinosaurs were around. U is for Upper Mantle, which describes brittle rocks way beneath the ground.

Also beneath the ground is lava, which brings us to V for Volcano. Underground, you’ll also find Karsts (which represent K), but it won’t be easy. And you already know all about E. That’s for Earthquakes.

B is for Blue Planet, which is what Earth is called because the water makes it look blue from space. All that water holds C for Coral Reefs and T for Tides. Put it all together, and you get W for Water Cycle.

There are so many things to learn about the Earth before it becomes yours, but if you get bored, you can always dream of the M word, which is Moon. Wouldn’t it be cool to walk around there, too?

If you have a young reader around, you probably have at least one shelf in your house that’s filled with books that have been outgrown. The nice thing about this book is that it grows with your child: Share it with a 4-year-old, then keep it for the 12-year-old he’ll be someday, because “B is for Blue Planet” really is two books in one.

Doing dual duty, Strother offers a quick, easy-to-understand poem for smaller children, each accompanied by a colorful illustration from Marstall. You’ll notice, though, that on the outer half of each letter-page are longer, more thorough, more scientific explanations meant for older kids — or for yourself, if you need a little help answering a question-filled child.

For preschoolers to middleschoolers, “B is for Blue Planet” will prove that Earth Day isn’t the only time to be green. For them, this book is a good lesson and a good gift.

Terri Schlichenmeyer’s children’s book reviews appear weekly in View.

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