________________ CM . . . . Volume XIV Number 10 . . . . January 11, 2008


This Is My Planet: The Kids' Guide to Global Warming.

Jan Thornhill.
Toronto, ON: Maple Tree Press, 2007.
64 pp., pbk. & hc., $12.95 (pbk.), $21.95 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-897349-07-6 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-897349-06-9 (hc.).

Subject Heading:
Global Warming-Juvenile literature.

Grades 4-8 / Ages 9-13.

Review by Barbara McMillan.

**** /4


This is my planet.

I love life and I love my planet…

but what about global warming?

Is it really happening?

Why is it a problem?

Can we stop it?

How will it affect me?


In her newest guide for kids, Jan Thornhill, author of I Found a Dead Bird: The Kids’ Guide to the Cycle of Life & Death, helps readers answer questions such as those in the above excerpt. The release of This is My Planet: The Kids’ Guide to Global Warming couldn’t have been  timelier. The 2007 Nobel prize for peace was shared by the United  Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and former U.S. Vice President Al Gore for “their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for measures that are needed to counteract such change.” What IPCC and Gore’s documentary film, An Inconvenient Truth, have done to inform the adult population, Thornhill’s book does for adolescent readers.

     The first third of This is My Planet presents the events noticed by people all around the world that point to climate change. These observations include the early emergence of insects and flowers, warmer temperatures, rising sea levels, abnormal precipitation, melting glaciers, and a decrease is sea ice. In this section, Thornhill also distinguishes between weather and climate, explains the natural water and carbon cycles that keep Earth’s systems in balance, describes the gases that are increasing the greenhouse effect, and tells how climatic changes are being measured by scientists and paleoclimatologists.

     On pages 22 though 51, the impact of rising temperatures and warming on Earth’s polar regions, oceans, and lands is described and portrayed photographically. Readers learn about the thawing  permafrost and “drunken forests” of tilting trees in this waterlogged ground, habitat destruction, the disappearance of organisms and the repercussions through food chains, invasive species with no natural predators, the effect of more acidic ocean waters on coral reefs and animals with protective shells of calcium, the increase in droughts, crop failures, wildfires, erosion, desertification and, at the same time, human poverty, thirst, and hunger.

     All is not gloom and doom, however. Thornhill makes it clear in the final pages of This is My Planet that, although scientists believe global warming is a consequence of human produced greenhouse gases, the 6,500,000,000 people that inhabit Earth also have the ingenuity to cut down the use of energy. In Canada, the United States, and other industrialized countries, this means consuming less and joining together to combat global warming. She also advises each individual to make small changes in the way that s/he lives because these seemingly small things “can add up until they’re big things.” Rather than traveling by car, Thornhill recommends riding a bicycle. Instead of  throwing clothes and toys into the garbage, donate these items to charitable organizations. Replace incandescent light bulbs with low- energy fluorescent bulbs. Turn down the thermostat in winter and wear warmer clothing. Take short showers.

     Thornhill’s writing is informative and clear and, similar to I Found a Dead Bird, the layout is unique. Each page is covered in a coloured wallpaper-like background, one to four text boxes with unambiguous headings, and one to nine photographic images that illustrate the information presented in the text. The final two pages include a list of internet sites with “easy-to-understand” and “fascinating  information” on global warming and a very good index to the  information addressed in the text.

     This is My Planet is certain to appeal to boys and girls who want to better understand global warming and who are interested in acting for the environment.

Highly Recommended.

Barbara McMillan is a professor of science education in the Faculty of Education, the University of Manitoba.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.