By Multicultural Review

Inspired by discoveries of the oldest fossil remains of pre-humans and humans in Africa, Schertle traces the development of humankind in moving, poetic text. Beginning with the first humans, who began to walk upright and use their ‘clever hands,’ the author describes how humankind migrated to other parts of the world. Along the way, they ‘stopped to build a house/and plant a seed and make a fish hook and a water jug/and to die… and be born.’ As they faced obstacles, such as the sea or ice, they used their mounting intelligence and resources to make boas, warm jackets, and other items that helped them survive. Schertle also tells how humankind spread diversity, culture, and technology around the world. While their journey sometimes led to war, it also resulted in holy places, music, art, books, and such useful objects as ‘donuts and bicycle pumps and umbrellas.’ And when humankind found the seas, sky, and land to be busy, they traveled deep below the ocean, inside their own bodies, and out to space. The conclusion comes full circle, as humankind’s curiosity leads to the excavation of their ancient ancestors’ bones. This absorbing picture book would appeal not only to elementary school children but middle school and even high school students alike. Its striking, mixed-media collages encourage readers to linger on each page and consider the lyrical text. Despite our differences now, We affirms that all of us are united by our history.