17. ‘The Encyclopedia of Early Earth’ by Isabel Greenberg

After watching this fantastic video by book vlogger Booksandquills, and realising that my own experience with graphic novels is somewhat limited, I decided to get my hands on The Encyclopedia of Early Earth. I powered through it in only one or two sittings and loved every page.

(Just realised that many of my recent reviews have been filled with gushing praise. Certainly not my usual style, but I guess I’m on a run of good books at the moment! Reading the final 50 Shades in June should change that.)



For a start I should say that, obviously, this book is beautiful. It’s hardback and the cover has some glossy elements which you just want to run your fingers over repeatedly (well, I do, anyway).

The pages are sumptuously thick and the drawings are both simple and engaging. I have to mention the smell too: as I read The Encyclopedia I felt like I was sitting in a lovely cloud of pure book-smell, and it was lovely!



The Encyclopedia tells the story of a girl from the South Pole and a boy from Nord. He is the first northman ever to travel all the way to the South Pole and, when he meets the southern girl, they fall instantly in love. But some strange magnetic force keeps them apart and, in lieu of touching each other, the boy tells her stories from his travels.



He tells her about the various civilisations he passed through on his journey south, each with their own traditions and eccentricities, and – of course – a love of good stories. This is how he pays his way in each of the places: telling the stories he knows and sharing new ones that he has learned along the way.



The drawings throughout the book are largely black and white, but Greenberg does use colour (yellows and blues) when she wants to really make an impact. For example, during the story we learn about the gods of Early Earth, who can watch what the humans are up to and even interfere. Perhaps my favourite story in the whole book was the creation story, when we learn that Early Earth originated in the hair of a bird-like god.



This book is right up my street: beautiful, enchanting and sad. It’s certainly inspired me to read more graphic novels and I’m sure I’ll return to this one again and again.


If you liked my review, why not buy the book and let me know what you think?

What do you think?

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