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Book Review: One World: 24 Hours on Planet Earth by Nicola Davies (Walker Books)

Illustrated by Jenni Desmond

For ages 4+

Earth Day can feel rather a sobering occasion for most. More than ever, our children are aware of the plight of our endangered animals, the plastic pollution in our oceans, the state of our air quality and how important it is to recycle. Children's books are 100% leading the way raising awareness of these issues amongst the younger generations, for it is in their hands we entrust the future of our planet Earth. Teachers, librarians, parents and booksellers are so happy to be able to find engaging, accessible, inclusive and gloriously illustrated picture books with environmental education at their core... like this one! Definitely going to use this in my school book clubs!

I always look out for Nicola Davies books. She is a go-to for books about the natural world for children and has an unending passion for animals and their survival. Partner this passion with a compassion for children and their mindset journey from the age of around 4 years old… if your library doesn’t have Davies books yet, then keep reading! Some of her most recent books I’ve very much enjoyed include: ‘Grow: Secrets of Our DNA’, ‘My Butterfly Bouquet’, ‘Last’, and ‘Every Child a Song’. This is a first time pairing for Davies and illustrator Jenni Desmond - and if I may say, it’s a winning combination.

About the story

It’s almost Earth Day and two little girls are staring out at the night sky from their bedroom in Greenwich, London, England… home to the meridian line and it’s one minute until midnight on 21st April. What does the beginning of Earth Day look like simultaneously around the planet? The girls open the window and take flight to find out.

Each beautifully illustrated double spread sees the sisters flying to a new location around the globe as a ‘bong’ of the clock takes them nearer to midnight. They begin in the Arctic circle with a visit to a polar bear and her cubs hunting seal at +1hrs ahead, then make another 11 stops before landing back safely in bed for the beginning of Earth Day on 22nd April.

We get a glimpse at nature in China, Australia, Zambia, Hawai’i, Ecuador and more… learning about polar bears, humpback whales, kangroos, elephants, jaguars…. and how they are being or have been endangered by humans. What a wonderful way for young children (KS1) to learn the concept the difference in time between the UK and other countries around the world.

Returning from their journey the girls realise the city where they live is a stark contrast to the magical places they visited, like the Pinnacles National Park in California with the bees buzzing around the rainbow blankets of flowers and humming birds “with backs like emeralds” darting around. The sisters are horrified by the smoke rising from cityscape towers, the endless human roads, the light pollution blotting out the stars in the sky, and the plastic washing ashore.

What a wonderful way to wake up to the beauty of our planet, so in need of our love and care more than ever. Tick, tick, tick, tick…

The book includes some helpful educational notes for adults in the closing pages following the story, and begins with a note to the young reader about how the time is measured around the world.

Find out more about Earth Day:

About the creators

Nicola Davies (author)

Nicola Davies is an award-winning author whose many books for children include Ice Bear, Big Blue Whale and King of the Sky . She is a Zoology graduate, an expert in whales and bats, and has worked for the BBC Natural History Unit. She lives in Powys.

Jenni Desmond (illustrator)

When she’s not in her East London studio, you can find Jenni Desmond cooking, cycling, and swapping city life for long hikes down by the sea shore or up in the hills and the mountains. Having graduated with a master’s degree in children’s book illustration from the Cambridge School of Art (UK), her debut picture book Red Cat Blue Cat won the Cambridgeshire Read it Again! Award in 2012. Her books have been translated into over twenty languages since, and in 2015 Jenni was named Best Emerging Talent (Illustrator) at the Junior Design Awards (UK). In 2016, she was made a Maurice Sendak Fellow and her book The Polar Bear became a New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Book of the year.

Key themes



Climate Change


Buy the book!

Here are my affiliate links, which means at no cost to you, I make a small commission when you click the links and complete a purchase.

Format: Hardback

Publication date: 7 April 2022

Format: Paperback

Publication date: 6 April 2023

"Nicola Davies is one of the best children's writers in the business."

- Huffington Post

"Jenni Desmond knows just how to make children's precious imaginations soar."

- Guardian

For more suggestions please check out my kids environment-themed book list:

Please like this post and leave me a comment, I'd love to hear your thoughts too!

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