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Earth Science

Clouds by Valerie BoddenBodden, Valerie Clouds
Gr. K–3   24 pp. Creative Education 2012
Bodden, Valerie Hurricanes
Gr. K–3   24 pp. Creative Education 2012
Bodden, Valerie Snow
Gr. K–3   24 pp. Creative Education 2012
Bodden, Valerie Thunderstorms
Gr. K–3   24 pp. Creative Education 2012

Our Wonderful Weather series. Simple, straightforward text combines with color photographs to introduce weather. Beginning with a clear definition, each title then describes the origin, conditions, and effects on people and property, using historic weather events as examples. An uncomplicated follow-up activity effectively demonstrates a relevant concept. This is a well-designed, accessible series for young weather enthusiasts. Reading list, websites. Glos., ind.
Subjects: Earth Science; Weather—Clouds; Natural disasters—Hurricanes; Weather—Snow; Weather—Thunderstorms

Inside Weather by Mary Kay CarsonCarson, Mary Kay Inside Weather
Gr. 4–6   48 pp. Sterling 2011
Stewart, Melissa Inside Earthquakes
Gr. 4–6   48 pp. Sterling 2011
Stewart, Melissa Inside Lightning
Gr. 4–6   48 pp. Sterling 2011
Stewart, Melissa Inside Volcanoes
Gr. 4–6   48 pp. Sterling 2011

Illustrated by Cynthia Shaw. Inside series. Clear prose and striking visuals combine to explain the title natural occurrences and their effects. The books are cautionary without being hysterical, conveying immediacy through a conversational style and occasional personal recollections. Foldout pages (some horizontal, some vertical) are generally used to excellent effect. Photos, drawings, charts, and other visuals are well chosen and well documented. Reading list, websites. Bib., glos., ind.
Subjects: Earth Science; Weather; Natural disasters—Earthquakes; Weather—Lightning; Natural disasters—Volcanoes

Island by Jason ChinChin, Jason Island: A Story of the Galápagos
Gr. K–3   32 pp. Roaring Brook/Porter 2012

Readers witness the six-million-year development of classic biogeography example the Galápagos. The organizational structure–five chronological chapters–echoes the story line and underscores the ecological message. Gorgeous illustrations include sweeping double-page spreads and panels arranged to show dynamic changes (e.g., species adaptation). Back matter addresses natural selection, volcano formation/plate tectonics, and endemic species. An author’s note discusses scientific facts versus speculation.
Subjects: General Science and Experiments; Darwin, Charles; Natural disasters—Volcanoes; Evolution; Earth science; Natural history; Galápagos Islands; Islands and island life; Earth science—Plate tectonics

Black Gold by Albert MarrinMarrin, Albert Black Gold: The Story of Oil in Our Lives
High school   181 pp. Knopf (Random House Children’s Books) 2012

Opening with a geology primer on the formation of oil and a brief overview of oil in ancient times, the narrative is most successful in describing the cycle of greed, wealth, politics, and war that drove modern civilization throughout the twentieth century and into the present. Marrin offers challenging insights and difficult questions that eschew simplistic explanations. Glos., ind.
Subjects: Earth Science; History; Fossil fuels; Energy; Petroleum

Seymour Simon's Extreme Earth Records by Seymour SimonSimon, Seymour Seymour Simon’s Extreme Earth Records
Gr. 4–6  57 pp. Chronicle 2012

Cold as low as -128°F can make you vomit; heat of 134°F will scald your feet: such gruesome details will delight middle-grade earth science buffs. Twelve extreme environments and natural disasters are explored, along with the flora and fauna that survive them and the scientists who study them. Crisp, often breathtaking color photographs illustrate the extremes. Ind.
Subjects: Earth Science; Astronomy—Earth; Natural disasters; Weather; Environment

From the January 2013 issue of Nonfiction Notes from the Horn Book.

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