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Many: The Diversity of Life on Earth

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After magnifying the beauty of unseen organisms in Tiny Creatures, Nicola Davies and Emily Sutton turn their talents to the vast variety of life on Earth.

The more we study the world around us, the more living things we discover every day. The planet is full of millions of species of plants, birds, animals, and microbes, and every single one -- including us -- is part of a big, beautiful, complicated pattern. When humans interfere with parts of the pattern, by polluting the air and oceans, taking too much from the sea, and cutting down too many forests, animals and plants begin to disappear. What sort of world would it be if it went from having many types of living things to having just one? In a beautiful follow-up, the creators of the award-winning Tiny Creatures: The World of Microbes deliver an inspiring look at the extraordinary diversity of Earth's inhabitants -- and the importance of their preservation.

34 pages, Hardcover

First published April 6, 2017

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About the author

Nicola Davies

230 books160 followers
"I was very small when I saw my first dolphin," says zoologist Nicola Davies, recalling a seminal visit with her father to a dolphin show at the zoo. Enchanted at the sight of what she called the "big fish" jumping so high and swimming so fast, she determined right then that she would meet the amazing creatures again "in the wild, where they belonged." And indeed she did--as part of a pair of scientific expeditions, one to Newfoundland at the age of eighteen and another to the Indian Ocean a year later. In WILD ABOUT DOLPHINS, Nicola Davies describes her voyages in a firsthand account filled with fascinating facts and captivating photographs of seven species of dolphins in action.

Nicola Davies's seemingly boundless enthusiasm for studying animals of all kinds has led her around the world--and fortunately for young readers, she is just as excited about sharing her interests through picture books. The zoologist's latest offering puts a decidedly quirky twist on her years of experience: POOP: A NATURAL HISTORY OF THE UNMENTIONABLE is a fun, fact-filled guide to the fascinating world of poop across species. "As a zoologist, you are never far from poop!" the writer explains. "I've baked goose poop in an oven with my dinner, looked at bat poop under the microscope, and had my T-shirt stained pink with blue-whale poop. I was obviously fated to write this book."

The exceptional combination of Nicola Davies's zoological expertise and her first-rate children's writing is apparent in her remarkable catalog of award-winning titles. Her first book with Candlewick Press, BIG BLUE WHALE, was hailed by American Bookseller as an "artfully composed study" offering "language exactly appropriate for four- to seven-year-olds and precisely the right amount of information." In ONE TINY TURTLE, Nicola Davies's clear, compelling narrative follows the life of the rarely seen loggerhead turtle, which swims the oceans for thirty years and for thousands of miles in search of food, only to return, uncannily, to lay her eggs on the very beach where she was born. The author's next book, BAT LOVES THE NIGHT, is a tenderly written ode to a much-misunderstood flying mammal, the pipistrelle bat, while SURPRISING SHARKS--winner of a BOSTON GLOBE-HORN BOOK Honor Award--contains unexpected facts about another one of the planet's most infamous animals.

When she is not off on scientific expeditions, Nicola Davies lives in a cottage in Somerset, England, where she is lucky enough to have pipistrelle bats nesting in her roof.

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5 stars
203 (46%)
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169 (39%)
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50 (11%)
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9 (2%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 97 reviews
Profile Image for Hilary .
2,261 reviews404 followers
October 19, 2018
We found this in the picture books for older readers section of our library. Beautiful illustrations show everything from microbes to extinct species with the message that if we want to continue seeing this wonderful diversity we need to look after it. There's a double page on what is damaging our world, pollution, deforestation, fishing etc.
Profile Image for Whispering Stories.
2,754 reviews2,580 followers
December 3, 2017
You can tell from all the books on animals that Nicola Davies has written, that she is fascinated with them. This book, though feels different to her other books that I have reviewed, and not just because it features all living things, rather than just animals.

In one sense it feels that it is targeting a younger market. From its hardcover, to its short, large lettered sentences, and softly drawn illustrations, rather than photographs. However, on the other hand it feels that it is targeting the older children’s market, with its factual information, and some of the tough subject areas it covers, including deforestation and extinction.

I suppose what I’m trying to say is that this book will be useful for children of all ages. It will also be a talking point for most too. It helps to explain, in a few words, what will happen if we keep on taking too many fish from the sea, or poisoning the air, rivers and oceans.

The facts that are in the book will most likely shock some adults too. Did you know that there are over 100,000 varieties of mushrooms, or that nearly two million different kinds of living things have been counted, up to now, and that there are thousands more found every year?

Some of the living creatures in the book I had never heard of, such as, Grey-Faced Sengi, or the Miniature Chameleon. Children will love looking these unusual creatures up, and finding out more about them.

If you are looking for a book that is interesting, educational, beautifully illustrated, and above all else, will keep your children reading, you should look no further.

Reviewed by Stacey on www.whisperingstories.com
Profile Image for Abigail.
7,174 reviews187 followers
January 16, 2021
British author/illustrator team Nicola Davies and Emily Sutton, whose other collaborations include Tiny Creatures: The World of Microbes and Grow: Secrets of Our DNA , turn to the subject of biological diversity in this wonderful work of picture-book natural history. Discussing the wealth of living creatures to be found on our planet, from the two kinds of elephant to the six hundred kinds of oak tree, from the one hundred thousand kinds of mushroom to the one billion kinds of microbe, the text here then moves on to a discussion of the human activities which threaten the natural world. The book finished with a plea for better understanding, and an acknowledgement that we humans are also a part of this planet's wealth of life...

Originally published in the UK as Lots: The Diversity of Life on Earth , and then renamed Many: The Diversity of Life on Earth for the American market, this lovely book features a simple but informative and though-provoking text, and absolutely gorgeous illustrations. The rich diversity of life on Earth is paralleled by the detailed and colorful wealth of creatures depicted by Emily Sutton on these pages. I think this may be my favorite yet, of the books I have read that were illustrations by Sutton. My only critique here would be the absence of any list of sources or ideas for further reading, which could have been very helpful for young children. Recommended to young nature and animal lovers, and to picture-book readers looking for titles with an ecological theme.
Profile Image for Mathew.
1,525 reviews177 followers
November 30, 2017
I have decided that I am now referring to Nicola Davies as the David Attenborough of children's books. Consistently in her work, she makes learning about the natural world (from microbes to blue whales) accessible, engaging, fascinating and informative for all ages. I like how she never over-states facts, information is gently shared and there is always room for the reader to reflect and ponder themselves. Sutton's illustrations are beautiful throughout with our little naturalist taking notes and observing throughout. My only gripe is that I would have liked and what's what at the back of the book as there were some animals/plants I was unsure of and a guide would have meant children could go back and make connections. Otherwise, a beauty but then I'd buy anything Davies put her hand to.
187 reviews
February 8, 2021
Lots is a story-based introduction to the concept of diversity and how there are all sorts of different organisms living on our planet, from the enormous to the teeny tiny, and how there are probably more things alive than we even know about. The language used is simple and accessible yet captures a surprising number of ideas that will make readers look at the world around them with new eyes. Conservation is a key theme, the story touching on how living things interact and rely upon one another to survive, and how human activity is damaging this.
Profile Image for interno storie.
131 reviews42 followers
April 19, 2017
Recentemente pubblicato da Editoriale Scienza, Nicola Davies si affida alla curiosità di una giovanissima fanciulla per trattare di un tema importante come la biodiversità e lo fa passando in rassegna la meraviglia del mondo – anche attraverso il tratto delicato quanto lussureggiante dei toni di Emily Sutton –, dagli esotici mari del Sud ai ghiacciai nordici, al deserto più vuoto; spesso habitat inaccessibili che non permettono un ragguaglio compiuto, così come è difficile distinguere due esseri uguali, per esempio la farfalla monarca e viceré.

Profile Image for Peacegal.
10.2k reviews94 followers
April 7, 2018
This is a wonderful book that invites readers to share in the sheer joy and wonder of nature. Life teems around us, but is also fragile, and it's up to us to protect the world around us. The illustrations in this book have a delightful, classic look. Share this title with a young person today, and introduce them to the astounding world that surrounds us.
Profile Image for Lauren Drake.
252 reviews4 followers
October 20, 2020
This book is amazing. The pages are so colourful with the illustrations used and i found myself excited to look at and read each page due to this (and i think children would likely feel the same). I love that alongside the story Nicola Davies has inserted facts about some scientific topics which many children find tricky, such as microbes and the food chain. This book highlights the important of looking after the planet and the animals and plants on the planet to avoid extinction. I think this book would be really useful for discussing these issues and how we can stop things like extinction from happening. It would also be good to hear different opinions from children and therefore could be used as a whole class text and discussion or on a 1:1 basis.
I think that Nicola Davies' message of how it is never too early in a child's life to make them aware of and encourage them to think about the issues mentioned in this book and also think of actions that can be taken to help. I will definitely be buying myself a copy of this book and probably a few more so i can include them in my classroom library.
100% recommend reading this book.
Profile Image for Melissa Buck.
87 reviews2 followers
November 16, 2020
A wonderful and colourful book illustrating the importance of looking after our planet as before we know it, it'll be gone. I live the use of colour in this book as it truly exciting to read and makes you wan to keep on reading. I think this book would be helpful for children to read as it highlights the facts around subjects like deforestation, pollution and mass fishing.
2,795 reviews6 followers
January 29, 2018
Nice sentiment and some good information, but I wish they either had the "footnotes" on every page or no pages (my preference) for consistency. Also more conceptual than factual.
Profile Image for Becs.
1,372 reviews49 followers
April 10, 2017
This is an absolutely beautiful book, filled with colours and lovely drawings of lots of different creatures. I can't stress enough how pretty the drawings are, with so much attention to detail; this took a lot longer to read than the average picture book because of how much there is to look at!

Each page focuses on an animal, plant or living thing and gives us pictures and a little fact or two about them. It explores all sorts of different habitats and environments, and introduces the expected creatures like an Elephant, but also some lesser known critters or beings which children might not be so familiar with - each of which had a nice label.

Whilst the focus is largely on the critters, there are some sections designated to how to keep this diversity and protect it; I really liked this addition with the slight nod to what an ecosystem is, and how some animals have gone extinct (with pictures of lots of these too!) without information overload for young readers.

A clever, intelligently put together introduction to the basics of the diversity of Earth. Definitely a keeper on the bookshelf.

This book was provided to me free from the publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Profile Image for Ellie Labbett.
300 reviews17 followers
October 17, 2018
A beautiful book that I feel children will treasure. Lots takes the reader along a journey of discovery and personal reflection. Following the adventures of a little explorer who observes the world, we are shown the big and the small- from those hidden within the depths of the ocean to the tiny mites living in the feathery home of a parrot. What I adored about this book is how Sutton and Davies show such a vast, connected and seemingly infinite variety of living things in such a close and intimate way. Perhaps it is the interesting use of narrative combined with small facts, or the little girl learning about her planet alongside the reader. Either way, it feels that this book is speaking straight from a heart that is truly passionate about the future of the life that we share our planet with, which only infects the reader with the same feeling of urgency and love.
June 15, 2020
"How many different kinds of living things are there on our planet? One, two, three, LOTS!"

There are living things everywhere, from the top of the jungle to the bottom of the ocean. The more that we look, the more we will find. The book is an excellent illustrated introduction to how rich biological diversity on the Earth is, how all living things are all interconnected in a big, beautiful and complicated pattern. It also touches upon important challenging issues facing biodiversity, not through a mouthful of words but through illustrations, such as land clearing, overfishing, deforestation, and also the consequences such as habitat loss, extinction and pattern disruption in the ecosystem. Furthermore, it highlights the role of human beings as part of the ecosystem and as the guardian of the biodiversity.

I love books by Nicola Davies. Her love for nature is apparent in her books. Although this is a non-fiction book, it is far from a boring textbook. I adore the simplicity of the language and the rich and colorful illustrations. It's excellent to encourage all of us to be aware and appreciative of the rich biodiversity that we have. Because, before we can take care of the Earth, we need to firstly admire and appreciate its beauty and richness.

Winner of 2018 Margaret Mallett Award for Children's Non-fiction.

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September 10, 2020
This book tells readers about life on earth. The author talks about the smallest of microbes to the biggest of creatures, from the depths of the sea to the tallest trees and the sky, and from the old species to the brand new species. The beautiful illustrations show just how diverse life can be in one forest, but also how the habits of humans today are destroying the beautiful, diverse world around us. So many species have already gone instinct, and this book reminds us that we need to pay more attention to how we are affecting the rest of life on earth, or we won't have it around anymore.

I love everything about this book. The beautiful illustrations are breathtaking, and I love that this book can give children an idea of just how vast life is on earth, and that even the smallest of microbes are alive, and that we just can't see them. I love that it also tells children that our bad habits are negatively affecting life on earth, and maybe this book will spark a fire in a child to make a difference.

I absolutely need this book in my classroom, because I know it will be so interesting to all of my fiction and nonfiction readers. It teaches a great lesson and would be a great book to read when talking about living things.
Profile Image for Linda .
3,772 reviews43 followers
November 30, 2017
I always thought it was wonderful to introduce my students to the idea of scientific identification, learning how the "Many" animals ended in the specific classification that each one did. I remember one time talking about ants, learning there are about 12,000 species of them on earth. Wow! This book introduces that concept so beautifully, beginning with one - girl, two - flower, three - ant, then MANY! Big and little, different and similar, Nicola Davies shares a few facts. For one "big" example, the text tells that there are two kinds of elephants and more than six hundred kinds of oak trees! She varies the look at habitats, too, showing deserts and islands, under feathers and in boiling volcanic lakes. There is a page that concerns the circle of life and the dependence on each other, including humans. And there is one poignant page of those species no longer here. Illustrations by Emily Sutton support the brief text with soft colors of living thing after living thing after living thing. There are MANY!
Profile Image for Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*.
6,001 reviews193 followers
December 19, 2017
Davies, Nicola Many: The Diversity of Life on Earth, illustrated by Emily Sutton. NONFICTION. Candlewick Press, 2017. $15.99.

Many uses illustrations and a minimal number of words to celebrate the wide diversity of life on Earth. A call to action at the end informs readers that many species have already gone extinct and encourages readers to ensure that the remaining ones are protected.

This book would work especially well for an Earth Day lesson or as an opener to a discussion on biodiversity and species inter-dependence. While the information is sparse, what is there is interesting, and the illustrations are gorgeous.

Pre-K, EL (K-3), EL (4-6) -- ADVISABLE. Reviewed by Sydney G., K-6 Library Media Specialist
Profile Image for Tasha.
4,117 reviews108 followers
March 14, 2018
This picture book invites readers to think about the wide amount of diversity in the animals and plants that live on our planet. The book offers a small scientific facts on some pages, giving a closer look at things like mushrooms, microbes, elephants, and habitats. The book moves on to fill pages with images of different types of animals, one fascinating two-page spread has animals that were discovered in the last 50 years. It also explores food cycles for several different species. The book ends with information on how humans are negatively impacting species in the world and encourages children to be aware of how they can make a difference. Filled with interesting facts and vibrant illustrations, this picture book is an invitation to explore nature even further. Appropriate for ages 4-7.
Profile Image for Martha.
1,269 reviews11 followers
March 17, 2018
From the creators of the distinctive, award winning title, Tiny Creatures, comes another wondrous non-fiction story, Many: The Diversity of Life on Earth. Every page exhibits the bountiful diversity of our species, and the balance it naturally creates. Double page spreads of ecosystems are gorgeously rendered in watercolor, showing the beauty of the species' diversity which nature provides, until the end of the story. At this point readers views the irresponsibility human destruction is creating in our environment. The double page spreads show pictures of exotic animals that have become extinct, environments destroyed by humans through deforestation, pollution, and irresponsible construction choices, making our call for taking responsibility of our earth, clear and unsettling. This title should be included in every collection.
Profile Image for Imogen McKenna.
23 reviews
September 26, 2022
Such a clever way of showing children just how beautiful the world was and could be if we stop doing the things which are ruining it. All of the little facts running throughout the book is a special touch which will be the small things children remember. Also, children can learn that there can be multiple kinds of one thing, an example in the book of 100,000 types of mushrooms which is a number so big that a child would struggle to even visualize it. But then to show how animals can disappear just as fast as they are found, with a double page spread of a few extinct animals in a museum and explaining that if we continue in the world the way we are, more and more animals will end up extinct. This book could be used for topics or projects with so many possible end outcomes for them to complete.
Profile Image for Joanna.
558 reviews6 followers
October 1, 2018
The cover and title alone would’ve been enough for me to give this five stars. Biodiversity beautifully illustrated? That’s my jam! But opening it up and going page by page was an experience I thoroughly savored, getting lost in each of the wonderful and detailed illustrations. There was a lot of cool information and the names of featured species would be fun for any kid to read or hear read. The theme of conservation and responsibility towards the planet and biodiversity was presented well: we lose all these cool animals and plants (and we’ve already lost some) if we don’t think about the way our actions affect the environment. 100% want to buy this because it’s beautiful and because it teaches good things.
Profile Image for Hannah.
268 reviews
October 3, 2020
Wow, the pages are truly remarkable, full of colour and magnificent illustrations. This would be great to explore on a 1:1 basis in KS1 as there are lots of extra details that can be read as well as the story. Additionally, it would be great for children to interrupt and ask questions about all the facts they are discovering which isn't always practical as a class read. I love the messages Davies puts across to the reader, I don't think it's ever too early to encourage children to look after our amazing planet (without scaring them completely). This would also be great in KS2. There is a lot of scientific information that children can access and it would be a useful discussion prompt for some citizenship topics.
118 reviews3 followers
April 30, 2018
This is probably the best conservation book for children I've read. Granted, I can think of only two others at present, but I'm sure there are more.

The text starts very easy with counting and gets more complex as it goes. This plateaus at the food chain, then goes through extinction and conservation. There are unobtrusive italics on some pages with asides that can be skipped if necessary (ex. "all of these animals were discovered in the last fifty years"). The pictures are detailed and colorful in a non-headache-inducing way.

I have no notion of age ranges in kids books. I think my first grade cousin could read it.
Profile Image for Irene.
776 reviews
February 3, 2020
De boodschap van het verhaal is duidelijk: zorg voor de natuur, wij zijn ook onderdeel van een mooi, groot, maar ook ingewikkeld levend systeem. Om de natuur ook natuur te laten zijn, moeten we wel ons best doen door het bijvoorbeeld opgeruimd te houden.

Hoewel het verhaal snel leest, zou ik er niet te snel doorheen gaan aangezien er ontzettend veel te zien is op de afbeeldingen. Veel soorten planten, bomen en natuurlijk dieren. De kleuren in de illustraties zijn rustig en mooi, passend bij het verhaal.
Op iedere bladzijde is extra informatie te vinden over wat er te zien is en ook worden Latijnse namen van dieren erbij vermeld.
Mooi boek met een goede boodschap.
Profile Image for Amanda.
3,756 reviews33 followers
January 26, 2018
Food chains, pollution, cause and effect, diversity, animals, interdependence, ecosystems

Some reviews said that the illustrations were too busy. Some reviews said that this books was bleak. I say that it depends on what your focus is! The illustrations are gorgeous; the text and illustrations remind us what a remarkable, brilliant, blessed, diverse world we live in! There is MUCH to appreciate and enjoy and admire; we should care for it like the precious miracle that it is and not abuse these resources or they will not last.

Displaying 1 - 30 of 97 reviews

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