In order to get out of the nightmare that is her sixth grade lunch period, April takes on the job of Bench Buddy for fourth grade recess, watching over the playground and encouraging conversation and participation. It isn’t long before she notices Joey Byrd, a loner who spends the recess period dragging his feet through the dirt or laying on his back with his eyes closed.
Curious, April talks to Joey, and he eventually divulges that he is making what he calls “spirals of sadness” and other land art with his feet. Land art, April learns, is art made using natural and often “found” materials, such as soil, rocks and plants. It’s usually created on a large scale and best viewed from a high vantage point. As her friendship with Joey grows, April gains an appreciation for what life looks like through Joey’s eyes.
Shelley Pearsall puts upper elementary and middle school life into perspective in Things Seen From Above, a sweet and kindhearted story. As readers make their way through the book’s alternating points of view, with April’s chapters narrated in text and Joey’s primarily in images, they will love seeing Joey’s world unfold right alongside April. A fascinating author’s note reveals that Joey’s character is based on a member of Pearsall’s own family.
Things Seen From Above offers a creative introduction to a unique art form and an appealing story about learning to fit in to a crowd that’s still learning what fitting in truly means.