Absolutely Everything! A History of Earth, Dinosaurs, Rulers, Robots and Other Things Too Numerous to Mention, by Christopher Lloyd/Illustrated by Andy Forshaw (Oct. 2018, What On Earth Books), $21.99, ISBN: 9781999802837
Absolutely Everything is the history of the world, organized into 15 chapters with catchy names like, “Nothing to Something” to describe the Big Bang and formation of the universe; “Meanwhile, in Asia”; “Medieval Misery”, and “To Be Continued”, which takes readers from 1945 to the present. Each chapter and era starts off with a two-page timeline of the time period covered, and is color coded along the page side, so readers can go directly to a desired time period with ease. The text is illustrated with color renderings and photos of animals, galaxies, people, and places.
The text never speaks over kids’ heads or down to them; it’s engaging, smart, and taps into the cool factor of nonfiction by inviting readers to join the author on a journey. Christopher Lloyd uses inclusive, inviting language, whether he’s inviting readers go on an imaginary dive to check out Paleozoic creatures or asking them to imagine our brains as mind-reading technology that helps decode other languages. He makes learning a cooperative activity, and he does it by letting the reader guide his or her own experience. Back matter includes further reading, a glossary, and an index.
Absolutely Everything! is a nice desktop reference for students, and is a good jumping off point for nonfiction readers to find something they like and seek out more. If you have Christopher Lloyd’s Wallbooks, get them up and displayed – those fold-out timelines are great! The What on Earth? activity zone offers free downloadable teacher guides.