Title: This Thing Called Life
Author & Illustrator: Christian Borstlap
Publisher: Prestel Verlag, Germany, 2020
Original Title: A Propos de la Vie
Themes: life, death, philosophy, connection
Long, long ago, before little white wires started growing out of our ears.
From the smallest specks of life to the largest creatures, this engaging picture book shows the
many shapes and forms life takes all around us.
What is life? It’s constantly moving, growing, reproducing, and dying. It’s happening now, all the time, and it’s everywhere around us. From little helicopter seed pods that float through the air to blue whales in the ocean, the world is filled with all different types of odd and familiar kinds of life.
Why I like this book:
The creator does not shy away from complex and even abstract terms, like perception, species, but I believe the quirky illustrations will connect kids to the complex concepts that can sometimes be hard to put into words. I would say the audience needs to be at least 5 to really launch into the discussion that the pages clearly promote.
It has a very European feel to the philosophical and honest nature of the text, where themes like survival and fairness and aborded. The whimsy of the illustrations and connectedness of all living things draws the reader in. The visual humor balances the somewhat heavy themes. While most of the creatures are imaginary animals (furry, spiky, feathery, hungry, scared), yet they all depict real things that organisms must do to survive and thrive. This is not a warm fuzzy picture book, but one I believe will be a great asset to story time and the many questioning kids in our classrooms.
Great Earth Day choice to discuss connectedness of all living things.
Each week a group of bloggers reviews picture books we feel would make great educational reads. To help teachers, caregivers and parents, we have included resources and/or activities with each of our reviews. A complete list of the thousands of books we have reviewed can be found sorted alphabetically and by topics, here on Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.