The Biggest Footprint: Eight Billion Humans. One Clumsy GIANT by Rob & Tom Sears

There aren’t many books that I reread instantly just to comprehend what my mind has been exposed to. The Biggest Footprint demands constant revisits, and here is why.

The mega human isn’t mega as in ’wow, how good is that’, it is purely a label regarding size. And, boy, does size matter! The concept shared by the brilliant Sears brothers is a simple one, yet it is very profound and extremely chilling. There are 8 billion humans on Earth and counting…the human brain can’t even begin to imagine how many people that would be. Unless we smoosh them.

Smooshing is an idea that is illustrated by plasticine people being squashed together to make one big person. My word, do 8 billion people make a rather large person!

What makes this book so powerful is that it compares the mega human with a whole host of living things that we share the Earth with. It builds up to this idea by letting the reader know just how big is mega big. An eye the size of a football can get across that message. There is a real sadness to the factual manner in which the stark contrast of our population size and those of the other animals presented.

As always, there is hope. This is designed to be a wake-up call to us all. The fact the message is presented in such a clever manner with an art style that is both simplistic and well thought out, is a pure delight for the reader.

Now for the teacher bit. As well as the message about the impact on other species and how many are now endangered, this book is marvellous for scale. Scale is such a tricky thing to develop an understanding of in schools as once we get past a few metres, it becomes quite hard to model to the children. Throughout the book, there are so many examples of scale used to compare the different animal populations or other aspects of human life. A brilliant tool for classroom teachers wanting to teach scale and large measures.

Quite possibly one of the most important children’s book ever.

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