Title: Here We Are
Author/Illustrator: Oliver Jeffers
Age Group: 3-6
Synopsis: A subtly amusing introduction to living on the planet earth.
Bug has been very interested in what Peanut will or will not do once she decides to make an appearance. What will she eat? Will she be able to walk? Can she play with toys? We’ve tried to emphasize that Peanut will not do much of anything the first few months and that it will be our job to teach her everything she needs to know. Bug thought that was marvelous and was quite keen on using Here We Are as a resource in setting her down the right path. As major Oliver Jeffers’ fans, we were quite keen on this book to begin with but with the additional idea of using this as an introduction to the world for young ones it is elevated even greater heights.
Throughout the entire book Jeffers maintains very basic descriptions of the world and space around us. And therein lies the treasure. Rain is described as falling water, snow frozen as falling water, icebergs as frozen floating water. Bug’s favorite page is where the volcano is described as VERY HOT! But in addition to the physical space around us Jeffers focuses on the inhabitants of Earth too. He reminds the reader that all people, whether they look similar or not are still people and animals, although they cannot speak still deserve respect. It gently explains that days can be slow but time mostly flies by so use it wisely. And if ever you need something to remember that you’re never alone on Earth, there are always people to help.
Jeffers’ unique, casual style really shines on these pages. The simplicity of it all plays to the fact that this is for young children and the bright colors draw in readers and beg them to stay and look at the pages longer. As well they should. Each is covered in interestingly beautiful details that shouldn’t be missed. Jeffers also twists his illustrations by coloring some people completely in green, purple, blue, or red. And in doing so, offers a subtler approach to ethnicities. But, as is often the case with his books, he uses the illustrations to expertly play off the text. So that, hand in hand, they elegantly deliver a wonderfully meaningful message.
Here We Are is my new go to for baby showers or at least baby gifts. It’s amusing in a subtly surprising way that I think surprises new parents who may just be initially exploring the world of children’s books. At the same time, it has a poignant and important message that is important to remember no matter your age. I always struggle not to cry on the last few pages, it could be the pregnancy hormones, but I feel that Jeffers has truly captured some valuable sentiments that I hope my children will also always remember.
- Because of the open way the text meanders, feel free to let your little one direct the reading.