A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Encyclopedia of Early Earth is a lyrical and beautifully illustrated graphic novel with many stories within the story that a wide range of kids will enjoy. Formatted as an illustrated history of advanced civilizations long before the Permian era, humans interact with monsters, gods, and each other in tales that parallel many mythologies, from Homer and the Bible to Shel Silverstein. Fairy-tale violence is occasional, highly stylized, and not gory, though it's clear what's going on (for example, an old lady dragging a giant's severed head). Several panels show both male and female nudity, which is incidental and not mentioned in the captions or narration and is anatomically correct except for the lack of pubic hair. The only crude language occurs when a man refers to his brother as a "p---y."
What's the story?
In THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF EARLY EARTH, the hero story teller sets off on a quest to find a piece of himself he feels is missing. He travels the world and has many adventures involving kings, gods, and monsters. Along the way he both tells and hears many stories about the full range of human experience. When he arrives on the other side of the Earth, he finds his true love, but capricious god Birdman is determined to prevent the story teller's happy-ever-after.
Is it any good?
Grand in scope yet emotionally intimate, this book provides a great framework for thinking about our place in the world, the nature of love, the difference between right and wrong, and so much more. As with most great mythology, the stories are satisfying, yet leave a lot to the imagination, thanks to carefully omitted extraneous detail. Kids will root for the story teller, recognize themselves in Kid and Kiddo, and enjoy exploring the vivid details in the richly imagined early Earth history. The book stays with you long after you've finished and is a joy and a pleasure to revisit time and time again.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how some of the stories resemble biblical or mythical stories. Which ones do you recognize? Is it OK to tell traditional or sacred stories in a different way? Why, or why not?
Some of the stories show violent acts. Are they important to the story, or is there another way to tell and show them?
Do you like the illustrations? How well do the pictures and words go together? Which is more important, or are they both important, to telling the story? Why?
- Author: Isabel Greenberg
- Illustrator: Isabel Greenberg
- Genre: Contemporary Fiction
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
- Publication date: December 3, 2013
- Number of pages: 176
- Available on: Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
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