On the night before Earth Day, as the clock strikes midnight in Greenwich, two children take an imaginary journey around the world to see what is happening in each different time zone.
They travel to the Arctic Circle, where we learn about melting ice. They watch a family of elephants in Zambia, where it is 2am. They see the baby sea turtles make their journey into the waves on the beach at India. They hear the morning song of gibbons as they pass through Gaoligongshan National Nature Reserve in China, at 6.30am. They dive down into the ocean in the Philippines as we watch whale sharks have their breakfast of plankton. In Australia at 10am, kangaroos and their joeys find shade under the gum trees. At 12 noon they are in Antarctica, where melting ice again makes things difficult for its inhabitants, the emperor penguins, who rely on it to raise their chicks. Heading into the afternoon, they pass through Hawai’i where they see that humpback whales are thriving now that humans no longer hunt them as we once did. At 4pm in California, they wander through a beautiful meadow of flowers and learn how important the insects pollinating them are to all life on earth. As evening falls, they come to Ecuador, home to owl monkeys, insects, birds, and bats – but only for as long as humans resist the temptation to drill for oil here. In Brazil jaguars are endangered, but changes to farming are helping to protect them. Late into the night at 10pm, they pass over Bird Island, South Georgia, where albatross parents risk feeding their chicks plastic in the mouthfuls they return home with. As the last chime of midnight sounds, they return home, back to their human world of plastics, oil, roads and lights.
The illustrations in this book are simply stunning – full of movement and colour. The evocative words weave learning about the earth’s rotation and time zones into the fascinating journey around the globe. Although we see the destruction human beings are causing to the planet and its inhabitants, we also hear stories of success and change, and the book has a really positive message about how we can make a difference and can do something to protect the planet.
This would be absolutely perfect to read around Earth Day each year, as well as for general learning about climate change, time zones, animals and places of the world. There is some simple and clear information at the back about what climate change is and how we can do something to help. All in all a fascinating book in both story and imagery.
Reviewer: Amy Cross-Menzies