LOOKING AT THE ENVIRONMENT
Volume 17 Number 5
I'll give you some key words and you guess the topic: ozone, deforestation, recycling, acid rain, solar energy, endangered species. Even if you live on Tristan da Cunha you will probably have guessed correctly because it seems that wherever one lives in the world, it is hard to avoid being caught up in one of the most talked about topics of the late eighties: the environment. And in the sixth book of his popular and successful Looking at ... series, David Suzuki has managed to touch on just about all the current, hot environmental issues, including those mentioned above. Moreover, he does so in a way that makes these serious issues relevant to children.As with the other books in the series Suzuki manages to convey scientific facts and concepts accurately and in an engaging fashion without ever being condescending to his young readers. The book's nine chapters each begin with an introduction to the environmental topic under discussion (e.g. the living world, what's ecology, you are what you eat) while interspersed throughout are "Amazing Facts," of which there are seventeen in total. It is from these latter sections that I learned that there is a flower weighing twenty-six pounds, a tree that grows only two leaves, and a fish that swallows whole other fish four times its size. The hands-on science is nicely covered by the "Something to Do" sections comprising twenty-five interesting activities which require only easily available materials. These are definitely activities that kids can have fun with; I know because I've tried many of them myself! All measurements are given both inmetric and Imperial units. Although the layout of this book to adult eyes is clean and logical it is not a book that would have appeal for many of its intended audience. Even with the line drawings by Maureen Shaughnessy to enliven the text, the pages of unbroken print, however interesting, may prove off-putting to some children. This notwithstanding, I would highly recommend Looking at the Environment to all elementary school teachers, and to their students' parents.
Fred Leicester, Golden School District, Golden, BC.
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