I’m a massive fan of Idan Ben-Barak’s books (Do Not Lick This Book and Argh! There’s a skeleton inside you!) so was excited to get my hands on his latest title for which Philip Bunting, one of my favourite author/illustrators, provides the artwork.
What is life? Now that is a very big question that lots of people have tried to answer. So what do we know? Billions of years ago, in an unknown place, something incredible happened. A little bubble appeared and that little bubble made more little bubbles that made more little bubbles that were all a little bit different. And from these little bubbles all manner of living things formed and are part of the wonderful web of life that exists on Earth today…
Idan Ben-Barak has a knack for creating brilliant non-fiction picture books that are educational, entertaining and that will satisfy the appetite of many a curious young mind. Through limited text and using language that young children can understand, he takes another big concept and makes it immediately accessible.
In his latest offering, Ben-Barak successfully distils the scientific explanation for the formation of life on Earth. Examples of what life is and isn’t and some thoughts about how to explain the idea of life are the precursor for a journey back billions of years ago to a time before any life existed. In fact, the Earth is merely a hot ball of fiery gases, rocks and water. From here we learn about the very first molecule, described in the book as an odd little bubble, and see how it led to the creation of everything that lives on Earth today.
The book doesn’t claim to have all of the answers - we don’t know exactly where, we don’t know exactly why, but it does give young readers a scientific explanation as to how life was formed and has evolved over billions of years. This is all brilliantly illustrated by Philip Bunting’s vibrant artwork. Largely set against a black background, molecules, atoms and life jump from the pages. The star of the show is the fold out at the end that presents itself as the grand finale depicting the web of life on Earth that all started with a strange little bubble.
We All Go Way Back is a great read for kids and will be appreciated by parents and teachers who need a simple explanation for the rather complicated question, ‘Where do I come from?’
With huge thanks to Allen & Unwin for this delightful and informative book.
Recommended for 4+.