How would our planet look if insects did not exist?
Can butterflies be beautiful and brutal?
Are drones a necessary evil?
Mechanica: A beginner’s field guide by Lance Baldachin is a picture book for those who love the earth but wonder what is to become of it if we keep treating it the way we do.
It is circa 2250 and the earth is devoid of any natural life due to human destruction and consumption. However, mechanical creatures have been made to replace what was lost – though these are not always as kind as they look!
This very impressive picture book with detailed diagrams of futuristic insects, small animals and birds captured my attention immediately.
Children will love reading the details about each creature and looking at the intricate designs Lance has included.
There is a glimmer of hope in the Addendum – perhaps nature will always fight us and our consuming ways.
How can you use this book at home or in the classroom?
- With every animal in the story try to compare and contrast it to a real animal in your own country (if possible) (Links in to higher order thinking skills)
- Choose any insect in our world and explore how that insect helps us to grow food, keep soil healthy or rid waste.
- Create your own Mechanica creature. Give it a new name. Outline the details similar to Lance Baldachin descriptions.
- Create the life cycle for these Mechanica. How is their life cycle altered when they turn bad?
- What are drones? Explore the history of drones and wonder if we really need them….
- Using a world map find out where these futuristic creatures live. Ask why they might live in these regions and not others.
- What sort of Mechanica could live in your home town?
- Write a journal from the perspective of Miss Liberty Crisp. Outline her journey through the Orient, her experiences in Saraswati and her excursion to the National History Museum.
- Write a persuasive outlining to others the importance of starting to take care of the world we live in. Present this in a TV advert – make it catchy, straight to the point yet entertaining.
- Create your own mechanics using recycled materials. Find old nails, bolts, cutlery etc. Not only are you creating something from waste but you are also alerting children on how much waste we do create!
Welcome to future Earth.
Despite repeated warnings, the environment has become polluted to such an extent that many areas of the globe have become uninhabitable, and wildlife is now extinct.
From the ashes, a new style of ‘wildlife’ is created. Wildlife that will not remain harnessed by humankind.
Welcome to the world of Mechanica.
Back Cover: Mechanica – Lance Balchin