Many: the Diversity of Life on Earth, written by Nicola Davies and illustrated by Emily Sutton is full of many wonderful things.
I am obsessed with Emily Sutton’s illustrations. They carry me back to my beloved Golden Books with their gentle palettes and decorative layouts. A combo of Mary Blair and Garth Williams, but with a uniqueness and character that is all Emily Sutton’s.
The lyrical text speaks of all the many wonderful creatures on our earth. Big and small and all part of an important pattern. In italics on each page are more detailed, scientific factoids that tell us interesting trivia about the flora or fauna mentioned. I have to admit, I found this a little hard to read all at once. But I was happy and interested to have it there. I enjoyed reading the narrative of the book through, and then going back and delving into the detailed illustrations and interesting information.
One of my favorite things about this book is the intelligent pairing of the author and illustrator. They collaborated before on the award-winning Tiny Creatures: The World of Microbes. The way Emily Sutton’s detailed and almost ‘wallpaper-like’ layouts reflect the theme of ‘pattern’ which is at the heart of Nicola Davies’ main point of her story, makes this book highly successful.
The ending is a plea to young readers to protect our whole earth, and in effect, all the creatures and plants that live here. We are told about the animals that were not protected and are no longer with us. There need to be many, not just one.
Also, the book’s big size and heavy, heavy paper… gorgeous, classic, and special! Many times over!