Written by Chris Burkard. Illustrated by David McClellan
A young boy speaks to the earth and asks to find happiness. The earth leads him to different vistas and the boy says he still didn’t find happiness. The earth asks him to go again and be still. The boy does and realizes happiness was all around him.
David McClellan’s illustrations are wonderful with this story. When the boy goes back and looks at the ocean again it is stunning and creates a sense of wonder and amazement. I wondered about the Utah scene since most illustrators don’t include Utah. Mr. McClellan lives in Utah and has worked at Brigham Young University. He did a very nice job on the sandstone layers.
The writing is quiet. It leads the reader quietly through the story. It has some pattern-like elements. Some phrases are used repetitively. For example, the boy and the earth have a similar conversation over and over. Young readers will enjoy that element. There are some alliteration-like phrases. The boy “waded and wandered” by the waves. He “stepped and strode” by the spray. He “hiked and hauled” by the trees. The richness of these phrases helps keep the reader interested and listening.
I believe the message this book is trying to send. There is beauty and happiness everywhere if you look around. I liked the story, but wish it didn’t start with such a sad note (that may have been the illustrations because it isn’t really in the words.) I believe the boy’s question could have been one of wonder rather than sadness. Other than that tiny element I liked this story.
Review by Cheryl Baker, Teacher, Mill Creek Elementary
Rating: ★★★★✩ (4 stars)
Interest Level: Grades 1-4
The Boy Who Spoke to the Earth
Written by Chris Burkard, Illustrated by David McClellan
Release Date: 2015
A review copy was provided by the publisher.