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Living Sunlight: How Plants Bring The Earth To Life Hardcover – February 1, 2009

4.8 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 1–4—In this sequel to My Light (Scholastic, 2004), the focus is photosynthesis and its connection to all living things. The sun continues to be the "star" of the show, narrating the lyrical text. The verse is a mix of fun and fact, explaining that "My light becomes the energy/for all life on Earth." Although the text goes on to connect the sun's energy to plants and then to animals and people, the explanations are quite a leap for the intended audience. Beautiful illustrations light up the pages and swirl across the spreads. Bright yellow outlines large green leaves, landscapes, and animals, radiating against the dark electric blue sky. Magnified close-ups of plant cells offer visual explanations of the process. However, they are more decorative than informative. Fans of the earlier work will find this book equally satisfying. Overall, a worthy general purchase.—Carolyn Janssen, Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, OH
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* If a good picture book does what it sets out to do, a great one sets out to do something huge and succeeds. Living Sunlight talks to young children about photosynthesis (a vital process that most adults would be hard put to explain) in a way that tells what is actually happening at the molecular level. It also tells children why this process matters and leads them into a broad understanding of their personal connection with plant life and energy from the sun. The simple yet precise description of photosynthesis is admirable, but the broad explanation of its significance is exceptional. As in Bang’s picture book My Light (2004), the amiable, well-informed narrator is the sun. Alight with unusual intensity, the artwork fills the pages with vibrant images, whether showing a child on a swing surrounded by and infused with the sun’s energy or a rolling meadow teeming with diverse plants and animals. Visual themes such as waves of light, floating molecules, and the curving forms of trees, animals, and the earth itself recur on many pages, yet each double-page spread illustrates its lines of text with intelligence and originality. An outstanding book to read and absorb. Four pages of appended notes not available. Preschool-Grade 3. --Carolyn Phelan
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 610L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: The Blue Sky Press; 3rd Printing edition (February 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0545044227
  • ISBN-13: 978-0545044226
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 9.5 x 11.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #94,963 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Deb HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 11, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Every child has a long list of "whys." Some questions are easy for a parent to answer while others, such as those in the scientific department take a bit more thought. Why do we have light? Why are plants important? What would happen if there were no plants on earth? Holly Bang and Penny Chisholm have teamed up to explain the concept of photosynthesis.

Photosynthesis is a very complex process, yet they make it seem simple by explaining how light energy is converted to chemical energy and stored as "CHUNKA-CHUNKA-CHUNKA . . . sugar!"

"My light becomes the energy for all life on Earth.

All living things --
including YOU --
pulse with my light
and keep circling
round and round on Earth."

I loved the simple, beautiful flow of this book. I was immediately drawn to select this book by the stunning artwork. The scientific lesson and the illustrations mesh perfectly. With books like this science for the young child can be exciting and fun!
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Format: Hardcover
First of all, I wonder if the writer of the Product Description in the Editorial Review section ever read this book! Living Sunlight does not show "children, teachers, and parents the remarkable magic of what makes us human." This book is about photosynthesis, not magic or being human. I love that the narrator is the sun, who is "talking" to children with a clear, respectful, and lyrical voice. I have explained many complicated ideas to children but I could never have explained how photosynthesis works in the personal and immediate way that Molly Bang and Penny Chisholm have. Like all of Molly Bang's books, Living Sunlight is beautifully illustrated; children enjoy examining the details on each page. She uses the same style of illustrations as those in the previous, companion books, Common Ground and My Light. Visually and thematically, these 3 books go together.

Hurry up bookstore buyers, teachers, librarians, parents, and friends of children! If you didn't have Living Sunlight for Earth Day, buy it now because every day is Earth Day.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is apparently recommended for children in grades 1 through 4, and even for pre-schoolers, but listen up everyone! I'm 69 and well-versed in science, ecology, nature, environmentalism, and biology, and I think the age focus for this book should be from age 10 through age 99!

It is a gorgeous piece of literature and art, and I learned some basic things from it, but it is not likely to be appreciated by most children under age 9 or 10, no matter who is mentoring/teaching them. I actually hope I am wrong (and that this book will be valuable for younger children), but on the other hand, any book that's attractive for humans from age 10 through 99 (and beyond, perhaps) is still a winner. Smile....
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Format: Hardcover
Living Sunlight is an amazing creation, just like our world created by the sun and the chlorophyll in plants. What I love soooo much about this book is the way that the story easily translates a rather complicated issue to children. When I learned about photosynthesis and phytoplankton in school as a girl in Junior High, it was THE most exciting science class lecture, I can EVER remember hearing.

The best part about this now for me as an adult, is that I teach the very same things to my clients as a whole foods nutritionist who thinks the world of plants and plant foods and am firmly resolved in our complete reliance on them for living a healthy life. Without plants we are nothing. We can survive easily without many other things, but we cannot survive without the greens.

LOVE THIS BOOK!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Excellent book. Big picture, important facts for young people. Written by MIT faculty who really know, but done with pictures and language for everyone. We'll read it to our (somewhat precocious) six-year old.
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Format: Hardcover
This book:
1) makes photosynthesis easily understood
2) but doesn't skimp on the detail, accuracy or depth of information (more details are included at the end of the book for those interested in even greater depth)
3) Is gorgeous in both ART and the storytelling
4) Fills you with a sense of awe--*tingles up the spine, WOW isn't it cool to be ALIVE, isn't this world amazing! sort of awe*--- at this natural process and what it means for all life

This story flows and can be easily read to and appreciated by the very young, certainly by Kindergarten, before for some kids. This book makes a beautiful gift!

As a teacher getting to read this to your class would be SO fun! One of those moments where you get to share a bit of magic! It should be a staple along with when a kid gets to watch their first seeds sprout, but would not be out of place with older students either.
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Format: Hardcover
This a fabulous book! Not only were my 7 and 8-year old mesmerized, but their mother as well. Yes we have all studied the process of photosynthesis, but this book awakened me to the magic of it all. What a difference from the usual factual presentations! Molly Bang uses her past experience in writing fiction to weave in candid emotion and visual beauty with hard facts. A real winner.
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This book is of the type that are truly rare. The artwork is frameable. The text is engaging and well-explained without being overblown. I'm seriously impressed, and can't wait to read it again to my almost-6 year old. I wouldn't recommend for very much younger, as it's got some concepts that can be difficult to process.
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