Title: Earth Verse: Haiku from the Ground Up
Written by Sally M. Walker
Illustrated by William Grill
Published by Walker Books
RRP: $27.99 (AUD)

This is an entrancing non-fiction picture book of Haiku poetry about the earth and earth science. Beginning with a whimsical illustration of a cloudy earth from space, the book explores many aspects of earth through verbal and visual text. The verbal text is Haiku poems. This is a clever concept, with the one of the oldest forms of poetry depicting an older planet and features. The features, or concepts of earth science, included are earth, minerals, rocks, fossils, earthquakes, volcanoes, atmospheric and surface water, glaciers, and groundwater. These are depicted eloquently in the poems and beautifully in the illustrations.

The illustrations are made entirely of coloured pencil. Small circular icons indicating the earth science are included in the bottom left or right hand corners of most pages. Readers can then use these icons to find the section in the back of the book that includes more information on each one, in non-fiction prose. The illustrations, in a picturebook sense, marry well with the verbal text, creating a seamless collaborative picturebook text. The impressionist style illustrations suit the verbal Haiku style and expressions so well. Words and illustrations are both in limited form, with a limited colour pallet matching the limited number of words and syllables as dictated by the Haiku style. Direction is used to full effect and the variety of frames, including full double page illustrations without borders to smaller round vignettes, influence the flow and pace of the reading.

This is an amazing picture book. It would be invaluable in a classroom studying Haiku and earth sciences. It will also do well in the art classroom when looking at styles and use of colour, direction and frames. This is an absolute must for all primary school libraries.

Many thanks to Walker Books for supplying this book for review.