CM . . .
. Volume XI Number 19 . . . . May 27, 2005
Children interested in weather phenomena and those who simply want to know more about the cause and effect of extreme weather conditions will enjoy Nicole Mortillaro’s Sun and Storms: Canadian Summer Weather. The book’s first six chapters tell about sun and wind, rain and clouds, thunder and lightning, tornadoes, hurricanes, and heat waves. Chapter 7 presents weather trivia and some astonishing weather data including the following:
This amount seems plausible given the 1996 photograph of flooded Saguenay, PQ, on page 17. In fact, the use of spectacular colour photographs, satellite images, simple diagrams, and tables of information help to make clearer many of the concepts and events introduced and briefly described in the text.
Parents and teachers reading this non-fiction book to children may want to correct the anthropomorphism in several of Mortillaro’s statements. On page 10, for example, she writes:
This is followed on pages 19 and 30 with the adjective “bad” to describe thunderstorms without making clear for whom or what the storm is problematic.
Adults considering Sun and Storms for young readers will also want to be aware of the simplicity of the explanations that use scientific terminology. Using Mortillaro’s reason for the seasons as one example, one must ask what children are helped to understand, not merely what they may know as a consequence of what the author writes.
Without question, the book should be discussed with children, and children should be asked to share their interpretations of the information presented. The text alone is not sufficient for developing understanding that is grounded in science.
Barbara McMillan is a professor of early and senior years science education in the Faculty of Education, the University of Manitoba.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.