Oliver Jeffers’ latest picture book is a tender guide written to his newborn son to help him make sense of the world around him. This lovely book is also a short but thoughtful essay on what makes our global community work and would be treasured by older children and adults too.
Being a brand new parent can feel very daunting. That moment when you arrive home from hospital with a tiny scrap of humanity for whom you have total responsibility is overwhelming. This little person is on a voyage of discovery with you as the guide. Becoming a new father prompted author and illustrator Oliver Jeffers to create a manual for his baby boy that would answer some of his questions and start the little chap on his journey. His thoughtful guide is full of kindness, humour and wisdom which make this lovely book something to treasure. It would be a beautiful gift for new babies and new parents.
The opening pages start in space and we then zoom in to planet earth, which looks rather small and vulnerable. But then our tour of the planet begins and we see how beautiful and precious earth is, from the mountains (with pointy bits) and hills (bumpy bits) to the sea full of wonderful things and then back out to the sky which is blue (sometimes) and the stars and constellations. The illustrations that accompany the tour are full of fascinating detail. We learn about people and that one people is a person and more importantly that although people come in many shapes, sizes and colours and may look very different they are all still people. The fabulous double page spread that accompanies this message is worth spending some considerable time over. The diversity is wonderful, from a nun to a sumo wrestler, from a gay wedding to a woman in a burqua, from a boy in a wheelchair to the queen, this is a celebration of differences.
An equally lovely double page spread depicts the world of animals of every type with the words: “They can’t speak, though that’s no reason not to be nice to them.” Oliver Jeffers advises his son that he will learn language and an understanding of lots of things and then it will be his turn to pass on knowledge himself. Meanwhile he must remember that time often goes quickly, he should look after planet earth and most importantly of all remember to be kind. If he still has questions there are many, many people he can ask. The book ends with the positive feeling of us all being part of an understanding, global community. In our present troubled world this is a moving and thought provoking message.
I loved this book and think it is a must have for primary schools as in addition to being a beautiful book to share read aloud it would prompt interesting discussion among older children too. It is one of those rather special picture books that resonates with adults too.
You may like to watch the lovely official trailer
Oliver Jeffers has written and illustrated many picture books and if you would like to try one that is completely different to Here We Are I would recommend This Moose Belongs To Me
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