Student tested and teacher approved. The book Come back to Earth, Esther! is a hit! If you’re teaching a primary or junior class and looking for an imaginary place to start, open the pages of Josée Bisaillon’s book. The illustrations are reminiscent of Eric Carle’s work in that they appear three-dimensional and open your mind to wonderful possibilities.
Esther is introduced to us as an ordinary girl who quickly displays her extraordinary personality and love of all things interstellar. She travels between her real world with real-life connections to her home and classroom and then skyrockets her inventive thoughts beyond the cosmos.
The author’s first love is art. Her talent will inspire children to notice and increase their own understanding of the sciences but also to deliberate and to write. The patterns and designs throughout the text display influences from a child’s perspective. A trip to the ocean to experience weightlessness instigates the many relationships between our planet and space.
With all things possible, Esther must invent a vehicle to take her to the place of her dreams. It is not in Esther’s nature to be discouraged as she engineers her project to include her dog.
With her pet by her side, the mathematical project begins as she measures, corrects, sands and paints. Although not an easy task she perseveres to include spacesuits for two.
Esther and her crew are not disappointed. They discover all the imagining that filled her daily at home and in her schoolroom led her to more splendour than even she thought possible. Our students know Esther or are Esther. They talk to her in the halls. They are listening to the way her passion makes all things possible. They create artworks and complete stories from their own ideas that they see more clearly because of her.
The book is a worthwhile addition to your classroom library or one to put in your bag for a spontaneous read-aloud or motivation for story starters and works of art. It also provides a starting point for discussions surrounding making connections and well-being.
Leslie Jaye Burrows is a member of the Ottawa Carlton Teacher Local.