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ereksonj

ereksonj

Planet Ark: Preserving Earth's Biodiversity - Adrienne Mason, Margot Thompson This book clearly deals with the 'so what' question. There are multiple human and global impacts of biodiversity that make this a relevant book. The book shifts regularly in and out of basic science fact presentation and into social activism. In the end the book gives a dozen examples of specific people and projects that are activists in local, doable ways.

This book needed complementary illustrations. Each double-page was trying to do so much informational work, and the text had all the heavy lifting. Instead of spending illustrator time and effort on the small vignette pictures with captions, it may have been better to spend time illustrating the concept rather than just providing a mirror of part of the text. An example of this was the pages on pollination. For a highly diverse and complex topic, the bulk of the illustration just shows the cacao tree and the midge that pollinates it. The illustration only cooperates with about a tenth of the text on that page.

In a way, I don't see this as Margo Thompson's problem. She most likely received art direction and followed what the job was. Authors and editors need to take much more responsibility for engineering the relationship between text and pictures in storyboarding. Artists could certainly understand this kind of work, but on most information book projects I expect artists are told what is wanted rather than being asked to create a plan for the relationship of pictures to text.

It's frustrating. This idea of the relationship between text and pictures has been at the forefront of children's literature theory for over twenty years now, but I still feel like the bulk of children's books show no effort expended on this vital concept.