Picture Book Reviews · Picture Books

Review: Small World by Ishta Mercurio and Jen Corace.

Review: Small World by Ishta Mercurio and Jen Corace.

small world 1

When Nanda was born, and she was wrapped in a bundle, the world was safe, small and warm. Over the years her world grew bigger and bigger, from the family dinner table to the playground to riding the roller-coasters at the theme-park. She went to college away from home, and her world grew bigger again as she learned about science and engineering. 

Finally, her dream came true and she set off into space. Her world became a rocket. A helmet. A small blue jewel in a dark galaxy. 

A beautiful story which turns the enormity of space travel on its head and celebrates the achievements of every individual who has ever made a contribution to space science. 

small world 2Small World is one of my favourite titles in the run of books published ahead of the 50th anniversary of the Moon Landings. Its jewel-bright colours and geometric patterns make a change from page after page of stars and planets, and it adds a very human touch to a STEM subject. It also shows how an interest in engineering can begin with the smallest of steps. An interest in building blocks, constant observations and measuring the world in patterns and shapes. The best way to encourage interest in a subject is to show that learning begins with very achievable steps. 

Nanda was once a little girl who sat on somebody’s knee at the family table. Who tumbled down the slide, and played in her bedroom. Who went out with her friends as a teenager. Who studied hard enough to get on to a top science course. Understanding what it takes to be an astronaught will encourage readers to aspire to big things.

The illustrations turn the world into a kaleidoscope of colour and pattern, and I would love to imitate this style with watercolours or glass paint. This would be a beautiful book for encouraging artwork and think about how we observe shapes nature. 

A gentle and richly illustrated story which explores the human face of space science. A lovely book to read around the 50th Anniversary of the Moon Landings. 


Thanks to Abrams Kids for my copy of Small World. Opinions my own.

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