The Street Beneath My Feet by Charlotte Guillain

Note: I occasionally accept review copies from the publisher. Posts written from review copies are labeled. All opinions are my own. Posts may contain affiliate links. I may receive compensation for any purchased items.

As a large-format fold-out nonfiction picture book, The Street Beneath My Feet by Charlotte Guillain (illustrated by Yuval Zommer; Words & Pictures, 2017) is sure to be fun for the kids to unfold out and explore. The journey is directed by a friendly narrator speaking with the personal “you” to take us from the street down to the center of the earth and back up.

First we find the pipes and wires directly beneath our feet, including the living creatures, such as worms and other decomposers, in the topsoil. The rest of this first half of this book deals with the other layers on the crust of the earth: archeological items, fossils, the water table, caves, oil, and other resources.

The rest of the book discusses the mantle (including the concept of tectonic plates), the core of earth, magma and volcanoes, and so forth, before returning toward to surface as we revisit the crust to learn about the minerals and rocks. We really do feel like we’re on a journey with the narrator’s friendly tone teaching about different kinds of rocks (igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic) as well as the different kinds of minerals we find on our journey. On the way back up, we find tree roots and animal dens in the topsoil before emerging once again in the sunlight.

Although the text may be too much for a complete read-aloud for many children, it is a fascinating book to read one-on-one with children or for them to enjoy themselves. Unfold all the pages to see the complete image of the earth from surface to core and then back out to the surface. It’s hard to explain the impact of this oversized format as I describe it here. When you see the fascinating perspective of all of the things we’ve found on our journey, the vast scale of the earth can be appreciated just a tiny bit more.

Reviewed on November 20, 2023

About the author 

Rebecca Reid

Rebecca Reid is a homeschooling, stay-at-home mother seeking to make the journey of life-long learning fun by reading lots of good books. Rebecca Reads provides reviews of children's literature she has enjoyed with her children; nonfiction that enhances understanding of educational philosophies, history and more; and classical literature that Rebecca enjoys reading.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}