Reviews for Living Sunlight : How Plants Bring the Earth to Life
Booklist Reviews 2008 December #1
*Starred Review* If a good picture book does what it sets out to do, a great one sets out to do something huge and succeeds. Living Sunlight talks to young children about photosynthesis (a vital process that most adults would be hard put to explain) in a way that tells what is actually happening at the molecular level. It also tells children why this process matters and leads them into a broad understanding of their personal connection with plant life and energy from the sun. The simple yet precise description of photosynthesis is admirable, but the broad explanation of its significance is exceptional. As in Bang s picture book My Light (2004), the amiable, well-informed narrator is the sun. Alight with unusual intensity, the artwork fills the pages with vibrant images, whether showing a child on a swing surrounded by and infused with the sun s energy or a rolling meadow teeming with diverse plants and animals. Visual themes such as waves of light, floating molecules, and the curving forms of trees, animals, and the earth itself recur on many pages, yet each double-page spread illustrates its lines of text with intelligence and originality. An outstanding book to read and absorb. Four pages of appended notes not available. Copyright 2008 Booklist Reviews.
Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2009 #3
The sun, an acknowledged expert on the subject, narrates this account of photosynthesis, speaking directly to listeners: "Listen to me. Do this one thing: Lay your hand over your heart, and feel. Feel your heart pump, pump, and pump. Feel how warm you are. That is my light, alive inside of you." That luminous sun shines on every page, celebrating its power with bursts of bright yellow connecting with the greens of the Earth. This light "becomes the energy for all life on Earth." Circular paintings emphasize the continuity of nature, while the spare narrative describes the process of converting energy and carbon dioxide into sugar, the building blocks of plant life. Even animal life thrives on this energy through the food it eats and the oxygen that plants emit into the air. Four pages of back matter accompany the poetic text, explaining (mostly to an adult audience) the scientific process of photosynthesis, the overgeneralizations in the text, and avenues for further inquiry. Pair this with Bang's My Light (rev. 5/04), another story of the sun's life-giving power. Copyright 2009 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.
Kirkus Reviews 2009 January #2
Mirroring the format of Bang's more energy-focused My Light (2006), this one is in part dedicated to Ben, "who felt it was more important that the sun's energy fuels life than that it can change into electricity." Here, too, the sun speaks in a meditative first-person voice: "All living things-- / including YOU-- / pulse with my light / and keep it circling / round and round on Earth." Elsewhere, the style and cadence evoke an awestruck child on the playground, excitedly sharing newfound knowledge: "Without plants, / you would have no oxygen. / Without plants, / you would have no food. / Without plants, / you could not live. / Without plants, / there would be no life on Earth." Sunlight is represented visually throughout by tiny yellow dots that travel in and out of Earth's lush blue and green landscapes, often to gorgeous effect. Photosynthesis is thrilling to ponder, and Bang and Chisholm shout their enthusiasm for the process--and for the interconnectedness of all living things--from the (probably solar-paneled) rooftops. (notes) (Informational picture book. 6-10) Copyright Kirkus 2009 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
Library Media Connection Reviews 2009 May/June
Told in the voice of the sun, the awesome story of photosynthesis (?making life with sunlight?) is presented in elementary terms through a collaboration between Penny Chisholm, an MIT professor of ecology, and Molly Bang, a well-known children?s author and illustrator. With starry sky end papers and the dotted depiction of energy waves, the book has an appealing design. Sun-yellow pages face colorful pages filled with plants, animals, all living things on the earth. The illustrations are bright and very detailed, although a bit too busy at times. Pictures support the text nicely, which is quite poetic in parts, even when conveying scientific facts. Readers are engaged through questions, and encouraged to interact with the text. According to the publisher, the book will include content notes and spot illustrations for reference purposes, which are features not included in the pre-publication copy I reviewed. This title will be especially valuable as an interactive science read-aloud. Recommended. Barbara Feehrer, Educational Reviewer, Bedford, Massachusetts ¬ 2009 Linworth Publishing, Inc.
School Library Journal Reviews 2009 February
Gr 1-4--In this sequel to My Light (Scholastic, 2004), the focus is photosynthesis and its connection to all living things. The sun continues to be the "star" of the show, narrating the lyrical text. The verse is a mix of fun and fact, explaining that "My light becomes the energy/for all life on Earth." Although the text goes on to connect the sun's energy to plants and then to animals and people, the explanations are quite a leap for the intended audience. Beautiful illustrations light up the pages and swirl across the spreads. Bright yellow outlines large green leaves, landscapes, and animals, radiating against the dark electric blue sky. Magnified close-ups of plant cells offer visual explanations of the process. However, they are more decorative than informative. Fans of the earlier work will find this book equally satisfying. Overall, a worthy general purchase.--Carolyn Janssen, Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, OH [Page 89]. Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.