I turned The Street Beneath My Feet this way and that way. Charlotte Guillain’s and Yuval Zommer’s unusual picture book is large. And it unfolds. You turn it sideways and let go and gravity does its part. You obviously have to hold on to the top – that’s the side – of the book. It’s only the bottom that you let fall. I think.
It begins with a street and then you follow the falling pages down, down, past cables and drains, tiny creatures, leaves, the odd skeleton, ‘Ming’ vases [bits of], underground trains, caves, rocks, and eventually to the rather hot middle of our planet.
In Heather Alexander’s Farm, with illustrations by Andrés Lozano, we meet life on the surface of the Earth, and it’s like Advent come early; there are 70 doors – or lift-flaps – to open. 100 questions are answered as you look at the pictures of farm life, and as you open all those doors. “What is the hen doing?’ or ‘Why are these fields smelly?’
You will have to read the book to find out. It’s one of two current releases in the Life on Earth series. The second one, also by Heather and Andrés, is Human Body.
Lots more pictures and doors; another 100 questions and 70 more lift-flaps to peek behind. I think makers of books have worked out that readers like to open doors, so the flappier the merrier.
If I could only memorise all the information in here, I’d know a lot. As it is, I have to re-read when I’ve forgotten. But those doors will open more than once, so that’s OK. If you ask ‘How do I smell?’ I’d have to say ‘awful.’
And ‘Why do I have to sleep if I’m not tired?’ ‘Because your mum said so.’
All in all, these three books will provide masses of knowledge. And unlike me, I suspect that younger readers will be able to remember most of it afterwards.