This is the story of the birth of an island, from the first red-hot glow of magma at the bottom of the ocean, to the flowing lava that hardens and builds up higher and higher until, finally, it breaks through the water's surface.
And then, life comes to the island. First come the small plants and animals, and later, people. This is a tale as old—and as new—as the ground we walk on.
In the briefest of concise rhymes, a few words per page, Schaefer details how over time, bit by bit, an island rises out of the sea. As trees and plants begin to grow from seeds, insects and birds arrive, followed by ships and people. A community soon develops, with its shops and celebrations. And then, from "deep beneath the sea, a volcano blows, and lava flows. Another island grows." Very simplified paper collages tell the visual story in ways that parallel the words. The abstract shapes are designed to demonstrate the potency of a volcanic explosion, the peaceful emergence of early plants, the jubilation of the dancing islanders, and the activities in the community. More specific details on how volcanic islands grow is added at the end, along with a list of other sources.