Book Review: The Encyclopedia of Early Earth by Isabel Greenberg

The Encyclopedia of Early Earth by Isabel Greenberg
Rating: ★★★★☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: October 29, 2013
Source: Borrowed

Before our history began, another now forgotten civilization thrived. The people who roamed Early Earth were much like us: curious, emotional, funny, ambitious, and vulnerable. In this series of illustrated and linked tales, Isabel Greenberg chronicles the explorations of a young man as he paddles from his home in the North Pole to the South Pole. There, he meets his true love, but their romance is ill-fated. Early Earth’s unusual and finicky polarity means the lovers can never touch.

As intricate and richly imagined as the work of Chris Ware, and leavened with a dry wit that rivals Kate Beaton’s in Hark! A Vagrant, Isabel Greenberg’s debut will be a welcome addition to the thriving graphic novel genre.

I had never heard of The Encyclopedia of Early Earth until Alex @ The Paperback Piano recommended it to me. I requested that my library add it to their collection, and surprisingly, I got an email only a few days later that it was ready for me! I really enjoyed this graphic novel.

Although it’s based on Bible stories and traditional folklore and mythology, The Encyclopedia of Early Earth is an incredibly creative and original story! It follows a Storyteller from the land of Nord who searches the world for the missing piece of his soul, featuring a god named BirdMan and his two children, Kid and Kiddo. I loved the stories, the characters (especially Kiddo!), and the touch of humor in the writing.

This is what a graphic novel should be — the artwork and the writing complemented each other, creating a really cohesive book that was just plain fun to read. The slightly fantastical spin on well-known stories (Noah and the whale and the Tower of Babel, for example) made it even more enjoyable. The only thing I could have wished for was a little bit deeper exploration of the overall premise. I loved the individual stories, but the actual “search for his soul” seemed to get lost in everything else that was happening.

I saw The One Hundred Nights of Hero in a local bookstore before I read this and I’m hoping it’s still there! I’d love to read more from this author.


Have you read The Encyclopedia of Early Earth? Is it on your TBR?
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