Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth

Author and illustrator Oliver Jeffers (The Day the Crayons Quit; A Child of Books) distills the basics of life, the universe and everything else into child-sized bites in an adorable reminder that "[y]ou're never alone on Earth."

Addressing an infant, Jeffers's narrator begins in inky blue-black space, quickly narrowing his focus to a shadowy Earth with a crayon-scribble polar ice cap. He explains our planet in terms of land, sea and sky, "[t]hough that can get pretty complicated." The real lessons begin on a spread filled with diverse people, including a tennis player wearing a hijab, a female astronaut, two brides holding hands and a parent and child in whimsical matching diving bells. Jeffers explains that though we all may be different, we are all still people. The following pages contain gentle nudges to treat all life with kindness, make the most of a finite lifespan and care for our planet, closing on an assurance that a supportive family will answer any future questions.

Conceived as a series of notes for his infant son, Jeffers's primer is infused with his wry humor, such as earnestly encouraging care for the human body "as most bits don't grow back." A broad palette starring deep blue and violet lends depth and restfulness to a seamless blend of media including paint, crayon and digital. Straightforward and disarming, Here We Are will provide parents and other grownups with plenty of jumping off points for helping children get the knack of how to live here. --Jaclyn Fulwood, youth services manager, main branch, Dayton Metro Library

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