Sue Shanks reviews Mother Earth is Weeping  by Claire Donald.

This slim little book follows Mother Earth as she shares her worries with the moon about the negative environmental impact that people are having on the planet. Turning to the Sun, Mother Earth and the Moon are cheered by the Sun’s belief that there is capacity for the environmental damage to be reduced and reversed before it is too late. In particular, the efforts and decisions made by knowledgeable young people are highlighted as key to improving the environmental fortunes of the planet.

On each double page spread, the text is presented as rhyming verse on one side with a beautiful illustration on the opposite page, complementing the written word. The artwork, by Simon Taylor, reflects the words and ideas so beautifully that the story reads easily as a picture book  for very young children, with much to discuss and share from the illustrations.

The rhyming text provides a clever, inviting and thought-provoking way to deliver the subject matter, hooking the reader into the themes of the book with ease. Although a little contrived at times, the verse introduces ideas and topics with standard and extended vocabulary so that a young reader may develop language skills without being overwhelmed.

In the classroom, the ideas and issues raised in the book would provide a primary classroom teacher with a wide range of teaching and learning opportunities, either as starting points for discussion or to support deeper investigation and research which could then provide material to be used across a wide range of curriculum areas.

The themes explored in the book – habitat destruction, pollution, climate change, land use and poverty – could not be more current, nor the idea that young people may become passionate advocators for environmental issues

Importantly, I think, the book ends on a positive note and a call to activism for everyone, whatever age, to be involved in making better decisions and choices concerning the very real global environmental threats and issues facing the world today.

Donald, C. (2020). Mother Earth is Weeping. UK: Fuzzy Flamingo. ISBN: 9781838094416. Paperback, 32 pages. £8.18 from

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