You Are Never Alone

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 06 Jun 2019

Member Reviews

I finished this book one day ago and was so conflicted on how to review it, I let it simmer over night. It didn’t help.

Kim’s illustrations are cute, but seem to really clutter the page rather than adding beauty or understanding to the story. They’re good illustrations, mind you, it’s just that there are so many per page that the story gets lost.

Kelsey’s story…where to begin with this one. Overall, it is a cute story of how everything in the universe is connected to each other. Because we are connected, everything that happens affects something else, in either a positive way or a negative way.

The story starts off cute with nature’s cycle of air and water providing a gift so everything can grow and be healthy. Kelsey then briefly “thanks” the decomposers and pollinators for their help in making everything grow. Then it gets a little weird.

Kelsey writes, “Ocean algae thicken the ice cream you eat. You devour fish who ate tiny plankton fertilized by poop from whales in the sea.”

While being factually accurate, as a parent, I know if I had read that to my son, he would never eat fish or ice cream again.

Now, many children know where their food comes from because they are rural families, or have parents who explain where the food we eat comes from, but do we really need a story to say that, in a round about way, you eat whale poop when you eat fish?

Kelsey’s story returns to the plants that help keep the seabed and sediment clean and stable, and the role that urban greenery plays in producing clean air. Then returns to the obtuse by pointing out that there are “cleaning mites” on your face that “evolved from mites that lived on the faces of your relatives.”

Okay, so now some children who read this may never eat ice cream or fish again, and now they may never want to touch another person’s skin because of the mites that live on it. Again, the information provided in the story is wholly accurate, but presented in a way that, for some children, would turn them off completely.

The story ends on a positive reinforcement of never really being alone because everything is around you and connected to you.

As someone who wrote their dissertation on the development of ecological citizenship, I applaud Kelsey and Kim for creating such a wonderful book that embodies many key tenets of biophilia, but as a parent, I think they missed the mark and the story may have unintended and undesired results.

Thank you NetGalley and Owlkids Books for the opportunity to read an advance reader copy.

I have to give this one two ratings:

Ecological citizen: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ 
Parent: ❤ ❤ ❤
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I read this with our children and while they loved the detailed illustrations, the writing was a little harder for them to follow. The connection between us and the world around us, down to the microorganisms was an interesting concept but I am not sure it totally worked for our kids.
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I love the illustrations in this book however the text falls short for me. I love the idea but I don't think its as well executed as You Are Stardust or other similar books. The wording is a bit awkward in some parts with an odd juxtaposition of sweet sentiment and scientific fact. Also, the links between some of the concepts are a bit tenuous or at least would be difficult to explain to the intended audience, which begs the question, who is the intended audience?
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While the pictures in this book are beyond spectacular, the prose seems more like an afterthought. The book begins on a somewhat strong footing, but with the third page or so it becomes quite weird, rendering it difficult for me to use this book for teaching purposes. I don't know what to do with the scientific facts in this book. For example, how do I connect the fact that playing in mud makes learning easier? ..... I think that part of my confusion with this book lies with the title. I thought the prose would continually connect the fact that kids are continually connected to friendly animals, like the robin on the cover, but the prose meanders to animals, flora and fauna, even microorganisms that are beyond my scope, animals that are far from cozy. I don't know about you, but to me it's not entirely a reassuring thought that I'm surrounded by microorganisms or that the fish I just consumed previously gorged himself on the poop of other animals. If you're an art teacher, I'm sure that there's much here to inspire you and your students, but if you're looking for a suitable text for language arts or science, I would advise you to look elsewhere.
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Thank you Net Galley and publishers for an advanced reader copy.

This book has great illustrations. The concept of the story is appreciated, but seems a bit advanced for kids.

I'm not sure all kids will understand the link between us and nature. I think this book does a great attempt at it. It has delicious vocabulary for kids and might work well for older kids.
One thing that bothered me about this book was that it was describing the link between nature and humanity and uses beautiful language, but then included the word poop, which is offputting for me.
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Lovely story of the interconnectedness of all creatures on Earth. No matter who you are, you really are never alone! Nice explanation for little kids. I can't comment on the illustrations, tho'. They didn't download properly. The bits I was able to make out seemed detailed, so maybe a one on one book.
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A bit charge in the illustrations department. There are a lot of little things and details and all in a style that wasn’t really great for me. The story present the relation between humans and nature in the cycle of life from microorganism into the sea too us. That part was interesting but there are book who present it in a more precise/clearer way. Good, but lack the little wow effect to reach another level!
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