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The Wondrous Workings of Planet Earth: Understanding Our World and Its Ecosystems by [Rachel Ignotofsky]

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The Wondrous Workings of Planet Earth: Understanding Our World and Its Ecosystems Kindle Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 701 ratings

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"More than informative, this ecological adventure calls for action."
Kirkus Reviews

“Delightfully entertaining . . . the book makes science both accessible and appealing.”
– Cool Hunting

"Swim through the art on each page of this book, while soaking up the science. Rachel Ignotofsky brilliantly uses her skills to create the ultimate illustrated story of life on Earth, delivering another blow to the misconception that art and science occupy separate realms. This book is a delight."
– Megan Watzke and Kim Arcand
, authors of Magnitude: The Scale of the Universe

“This fantastic book combines Rachel Ignotofsky's instantly-recognizable illustrations with her passion for knowledge. While, on first glance, it may not look like a science book, it is absolutely jam-packed with fascinating, well-researched information. The format is great, too—each section stands on its own merit, but Rachel carefully and seamlessly intertwines them, weaving together the complex tale of life on Earth. The result is a very beautiful scientific treasure trove for anyone interested in the world's ecosystems.”
– Laurie Winkless
, author of Science and the City

“Full of fun facts, quirky humor, and gorgeous illustrations, this is an accessible and richly informative book about a timely and important subject.”
– Kate Moore
, New York Times best-selling author of The Radium Girls
“An essential book for every kid who is curious about science, nature, and how the world works.”
–Andrea Beaty, author of Ada Twist, Scientist and Rosie Revere, Engineer
"This is an ambitious and informative book that is also great fun. It is visually stunning, a real pleasure to read, and well worth exploring." 
– Tristan Gooley
, author of The Lost Art of Reading Nature's Signs
“Rachel Ignotofsky's latest book is a marvelous tribute to its namesake, planet earth. Together with delightful hand-drawn illustrations, Ignotofsky presents an informative text packed with interesting facts and curiosities about the diverse ecosystems that span the globe. The book is at once awestruck and awe-inspiring, managing to balance admiration for the natural world with passionate pleas for its protection, and is sure to captivate nature- and science-loving readers within and beyond its intended age range.”
– Kelsey Oseid
, author of Whales and What We See in the Stars
"This book is a delight. It is filled to the brim with wonderful facts and diagrams, covering the flora and fauna of ecosystems from around the world, the cycles of nature, and our role in protecting our planet. The stunning illustrations make each page a true work of art. A joy to read."
– Owen Davey
, author of Bonkers About Beetles --This text refers to the hardcover edition.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.


As you read this page, a jaguar is on the hunt in the Amazon rainforest, a coral reef teems with life, and a bike messenger in New York City is riding with a bagel in hand. These all might seem like unrelated events, but in fact, all living things have more in common than you think.

For starters, we all live on planet Earth. Together, plants, animals, and people spin through outer space, protected only by a thin layer of atmosphere. Second, everything on Earth (And I mean everything! Your dog, car, spaghetti dinner, and even you!) is made up of atoms. Last, all living things—­no matter how small or big, whether it is a plant turning sunlight into sugar or a person eating a sandwich—­build their bodies and get energy from their food. Every living thing is dependent on the earth’s limited resources, and each other, for survival. To see just how much we are connected, we need to understand the earth’s ecosystems.

Exactly how life on our planet works is a complicated question—the world can feel so large. What if you could comprehend the complex workings of a massive forest as easily as you could learn how to care for a houseplant? What if our whole planet was as easy to understand as a specimen in a bottle or a globe on a desk? You could watch the winds blow nutrient-rich dust from the Sahara across the Atlantic Ocean, where it fertilizes the Amazon rainforest. Those same trees in the Amazon release massive amounts of oxygen into the air. Those oxygen molecules mix with the atmosphere, which is then breathed by animals and people all around the world. The story could continue without end.  In this book, we’ll take a close look at how some of our world’s largest—and smallest—ecosystems work, and how the natural world fits together to support life on Earth.

Looking at planet Earth you will also see people. Throughout human history, we have transformed the landscape in both good and bad ways. You will see people taking care of the land they live on, like shepherds in the Scottish moors digging ditches to keep the bogs moist. You’ll see how people build in ways that take wildlife into account; in Kenya, people construct underpasses beneath highways so that elephants can continue their annual migrations across the grasslands. You will see scientists, governments, and communities come together to create protected areas that preserve nature. However, you will also see how humans have used the land in ways that hurt the natural world.

Humanity’s biggest challenge is learning to use our resources responsibly. As there are more and more people living on Earth, it becomes a smaller and smaller place. Farms need to be bigger, and cities need to keep growing. But as we continue to build, we cannot afford to disrupt the natural benefits that Earth’s irreplaceable ecosystems provide. Irresponsible mismanagement of land and the rapid overuse of our resources result in pollution, climate change, and the destruction of our important ecosystems, which in turn make it harder for humans—­and all other life on Earth—­to thrive.

The first step to protecting our planet is to learn more about it. With a true understanding of the natural world, we can take from the earth without destroying it. Together we can find new ways to farm, generate energy, and invent new materials to build with. But we cannot expect people to care for our planet if they cannot care for themselves. Often, poor communities depend on harmful or illegal practices like poaching or lumber exploitation. By addressing poverty and creating better ways to farm and build, we can give all people the means to preserve our earth.

Our planet is the only home we have. It is precious and needs our care. The power to protect our earth rests with each of us. You could say that the world’s future is truly in the palms of your hands. --This text refers to the hardcover edition.

Product details

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B078FYYZTV
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Ten Speed Press (18 September 2018)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • File size ‏ : ‎ 140474 KB
  • Text-to-Speech ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Enhanced typesetting ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • X-Ray ‏ : ‎ Not Enabled
  • Word Wise ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Print length ‏ : ‎ 251 pages
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.8 out of 5 stars 701 ratings

Customer reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5
701 global ratings
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Top reviews from India

Reviewed in India on 19 August 2021
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Reviewed in India on 18 December 2018
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Top reviews from other countries

5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful illustrations and a very important message for humanity
Reviewed in Canada on 28 September 2018
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4.0 out of 5 stars Nice book.
Reviewed in Canada on 15 January 2021
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Rachel C
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it
Reviewed in Canada on 17 January 2019
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5.0 out of 5 stars Un libro para aprender jugando
Reviewed in Mexico on 25 February 2019
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One person found this helpful
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5.0 out of 5 stars La autora y el contenido
Reviewed in Spain on 15 February 2019
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About the author

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Rachel Ignotofsky is a New York Times Best Selling author and illustrator, based in California. She grew up in New Jersey on a healthy diet of cartoons and pudding. She graduated from Tyler School of Art in 2011.

Rachel works for herself and spends all day and night drawing, writing and learning as much as she can. Rachel is a published author with 10 Speed Press and is always thinking up new ideas. Check out her books The Wondrous Workings of Planet Earth, Women In Science, Women in Art, and Women In Sports.

Her work is inspired by history and science. She believes that illustration is a powerful tool that can make learning exciting. She has a passion for taking dense information and making it fun and accessible. Rachel hopes to use her work to spread her message about scientific literacy and feminism.