Book Title: Planet SOS (available here)
Author: Marie G. Rohde
Publisher: What on Earth Books
Publication Date: April 2020
Suitable For: KS2
Reviewed By: Kristen Hopwood
Planet SOS has turned 22 threats to our planet into monsters based on mythical creatures who damaged the environment before being defeated by humans. This book clearly explains how each ‘monster’ is a threat to our planet, but through the use of ‘Monster cards’ (reminiscent of children’s collectable cards) it also explains what humans can do about it.
There is a double-page spread featuring each ‘monster’, along with a description of how it damages our planet written from the monster’s point of view. The monster card shows symbols representing what we can do to ‘shrink’ the monster as well as human actions that are ‘feeding’ the monster. They also have a numerical scale showing how severe the effect on our planet is. Each double-page spread is finished off with a short paragraph about the mythical creature that the monster is based on.
The illustrations really bring this book to life. They are accurate depictions of the environmental threats but conveyed in a child-friendly way as they also feature the relevant monster. After all the monsters have been explained, there is a wonderful world map showing which countries the monsters have the biggest impact on. Whilst some of the monsters (like the Ozone Serpent and Road Snake) affect most of the world, monsters like the Smogosaurus and Acid Rain Spirits only affect certain areas. There is also a timeline showing the history of environmental issues.
The book also features a fold-out, illustrated glossary and an appendix of each monster card across two pages making it easy to reference all the monsters at a glance.
This book is an absolute essential for all primary schools – it is so comprehensive and easy to use whilst still explaining accurately the issues involved. It could be used to look at specific environmental issues in isolation or all of them at once. Whilst being suitable for Year 3 and up, I will definitely use this in my Year 6 classroom as well!
Many thanks to the publisher for sending us a review copy of this book and to Review Panel member Kristen for reviewing it.
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