Everyone starts small

Liz Garton Scanlon

Book - 2024

Spring rains change Water from a tumbling creek to a roaring river and bring Tree nutrients it needs to stretch toward the sky. As Sun's rays intensify, the sprouts and fruits and insects of the forest grow and bloom and develop, all working together in harmony. Even Fire, whose work causes Tree to ache from the inside, brings opportunity for the next generation of flora and fauna. Paired with the vivid, organic imagery of Dominique Ramsey, Liz Garton Scanlon's poetic tribute to our planet's resilience is a resonant story of life, death, and regeneration.

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Children's Room New Shelf jE/Scanlon (NEW SHELF) Due May 23, 2024
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Nature fiction
Picture books
Somerville, Massachusetts : Candlewick Press 2024.
Main Author
Liz Garton Scanlon (author)
Other Authors
Dominique Ramsey (illustrator)
First edition
Physical Description
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 28 cm
Ages 5-8.
Contents unavailable.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Starting with a cross-section of a young plant, this eco-tale of change and renewal articulates a vision of cyclical natural harmony. Early lines build on the title, spotlighting the universal ("Everyone starts small/ and then grows./ Sun grows beams"), while pages center a maturing tree experiencing drought, fire, and rain-ignited dormancy before cycling back to growth. Though the focus is on ecological processes, expressive dialogue and description personify elements including rain and wind ("I'm tired, whispers Fire"). Ramsey's curving digital renderings emphasize flow: green hills undulate with gently bent grass blades, and thick-drawn cloud curlicues sweep across skies. Aside from some surprisingly googly-eyed ants, scenes primarily feature vegetation, soil, and weather. Meanwhile, Scanlon's prose provides depth for a compelling portrait of ecosystem interconnection. An author's note concludes. Ages 4--8. (Mar.)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Horn Book Review

"Everyone starts small and then grows." Scanlon gives readers and listeners a better understanding of the natural world through a lyrical exploration of how all its elements are interconnected. Everything is growing and doing well until Sun becomes "too hot," which results in Tree overheating. Dry conditions caused by Sun eventually lead to Fire. The flames can only be cooled by Rain. As the temperature drops, Fire whispers, "I'm tired," and "half the world, it seems, lies down to sleep." While this dormant period may look like the end, Ramsey's dynamic digital illustrations capture what's still happening underneath Soil. Tree's roots stretch down deeper into the dirt. Berry provides nutrients for Bug in a burrow, and seeds begin to germinate. Eventually, the resulting plants burst forth through the ground as small stalks, starting the cycle all over again. An author's note explains how Earth's ecosystems work together to look out for one another, particularly after "environmental traumas" such as fires and the "myriad effects of climate change." It also includes a list of organizations young people can look to for ways to help. Marva Anne HintonMarch/April 2024 p.74 (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review

Small becomes spectacular. From the beginning of this exquisite book, text and art meld to demonstrate that all life starts out insignificant, then remarkably explodes into breathtaking magnificence. "Everyone starts small / and then grows. / Sun grows beams / And Grass grows blades / and Cloud cannot contain herself. / Then things really get going. / Everyone sprouts and bursts / and hatches and spreads. / Especially Tree." The book centers on the tree's "pretty incredible" interconnectedness with other life forces, such as Water, Grass, Sun, Bug, and Berry. They "rise and ripen, too." Occasionally intruding upon this idyllic landscape comes powerful Wind, which can do damage to Tree, as can the searing heat of Sun. Then, joining ruinous forces, Wind and Sun wreak violent havoc on Tree and other life forms. After Fire erupts, "there's not a thing in the world / anyone can say to that." When Rain eventually saves the day, Tree is thankful, and Fire concedes that it's tired. Once Fire's extinguished, "Half the world…lies down to sleep… / But Soil holds on… / and everyone stays like that for a long while." Miraculously, following the devastation, the Earth renews itself, and new lives arise again, rife with fabulous potential. The text is simple and simply lovely, expressing in a clear, comprehensible way how intertwined everything in nature is. The beautiful, eye-popping digital illustrations are lushly textured. Transcendent and brimming with the promise of life's renewal. (author's note) (Picture book. 5-8) Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.