Monday, February 4, 2019

Review - Hey There, Earth Dweller!: Dive Into This World We Call Earth (DNF)

Hey There, Earth Dweller!: Dive Into This World We Call Earth
by Marc ter Horst
illustrated by Wendy Panders
Date: 2019
Publisher: Aladdin/Beyond Words
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book non-fiction
Pages: 176
Format: e-book
Source: NetGalley

This engaging and quirky introduction into the history and facts about our world and its hidden wonders explores how humans came to inhabit planet Earth and much more.

Hey There, Earth Dweller! is a fun, educational journey into everything a kid would want to know about the planet we call home. Kids are invited to learn about large-scale topics, from what makes up the many layers of the Earth—from the core to exosphere—traveling all the way out into the solar system and our many neighboring planets and moons.

Presented in a vibrant mixed medium design that cleverly and humorously combines original illustrations with photographs of everyday items, this creative take on an institutional topic allows kids to engage and grasp scientific concepts covered, while encouraging them to inquisitively uncover the answers to all of their planetary questions.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

DNF @ 27%

When a book starts making me dread opening up the reading app, it's time to call it quits.

I believed the synopsis when it said the book would be "engaging and quirky". That was a lie. I was not engaged. And if "quirky" means "badly written" and "factually incorrect", then I'm afraid I need a new dictionary.

I made a number of notes about errors in the text as I was reading, and since I only got about 1/4 of the way through... well, I shouldn't have had any, really, if this is a non-fiction title. This book reads like a textbook, so I expect it to get its facts right. I don't want to have to look everything up because it may or may not be correct. In the 27% I read, here are a few things I noticed:

If the Earth weren't turning, we would be in either eternal day or eternal night.

Untrue. I learned about this in my astronomy class in university. If the Earth weren't turning at all, we would still have day and night... but it would last an entire year. Think about it: as the Earth is moving around the sun, the only way it could have one side always facing the sun is if it were slowly turning itself. This is what happens with the moon. Its rotation has slowed so that it's essentially locked with one side facing Earth. That's why our moon has a "dark side" that we can't see.

But in space there are simply too few air particles to slow the Earth down much.

The Earth's rotation is gradually slowing down, but air particles aren't what's doing it. It's the tidal pull from our own moon.

Your grandma's grandma didn't have a cell phone. She probably didn't even have a watch.

Maybe true... if you're a 60-year-old kid! I'm old enough to have children that could read this book, meaning that their supposed grandmother's grandmother would be my great-grandmother. Three out of four of my great-grandmothers lived until the 1960s and 1970s; the other died in 2004. Watches definitely existed!

But then a Roman astronomer calculated that it takes the Earth a little longer than 365 days.

I assume this refers to Sosigenes of Alexandria... who was actually a Greek astronomer from Egypt.

See what I mean about the errors? How can I trust the rest of the information? I shouldn't have to Google every fact just to verify that it's correct. Oh, and let's not forget the editing lapses:

Thing's that spin around want to get away from the center.

I chalk that one up to the translator and editors. That's just not good enough for a non-fiction book for children.

In theory, this sounded like a book I would really enjoy. But I found it to be too heavy on the text, making it more like a textbook than a picture book. I felt like I was back in school again, doing required reading... except I'm now old enough to realize that not everything I'm reading is true. This book needs better fact checking and editing before it's released on unsuspecting kids.

Thank you to NetGalley and Aladdin/Beyond Words for providing a digital ARC.

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