________________ CM . . . . Volume XV Number 1 . . . . August 29, 2008

cover The Dirt on Dirt.

Paulette Bourgeois with Kathy Vanderlinden. Illustrated by Martha Newbigging.
Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press, 2008.
48 pp., pbk. & hc., $9.95 (pbk.), $17.95 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-55453-102-8 (pbk.), ISBN 1-55453-101-1 (hc.).

Subject Headings:
Soils-Juvenile literature.
Soil ecology-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3-6 / Ages 8-11.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

**** /4


How does African sand get into your bedroom? Sand grains come in different sizes, the largest about 2 mm (0.08 in.). Light breezes roll the middle-sized grains of sand across the desert. When they hit something bigger, they bounce high in the air like acrobats on a circus trampoline. The sand grains spin up to 1000 times per second until they fall back onto the desert. When they land on the tiniest sand grains, those grains go flying in turn. Up to 90 000 000 t (100 000 000 tn.) of these tiny sand grains are sent airborne each year. The hot desert air lifts the sand up to 9 km (5.6 mi.) above sea level. It floats across the world and eventually rains down onto your clothes, your hair and, yes, the floor under your bed.


Even the most fastidious housekeeper can never completely rid a house of dirt. Dirt is everywhere- from one’s ears, hair and belly button to the floor under the bed. This fun and informative book provides lots of interesting facts about a variety of topics ranging from archaeological digs and buried treasure to soil erosion and quicksand formation. Readers will learn about the composition and different kinds of dirt, how dirt and sand are formed, fossils, gardening, and animals that live in dirt, such as earthworms, ants, moles, burrowing owls and lungfish. Boring through earth to create towers and tunnels, the problems with landfill sites, and the positive aspects of dirt (it is a required component of raindrops and colourful sunsets) are a few of the other topics covered. There is information about buried cities- Pompeii, for example- and the area near the city of Xí-an in China, where an emperor’s tomb containing 7 000 life-sized clay statues was discovered. Also included are the instructions for some fun art projects as well as several easy scientific experiments- kids can make dirt, examine the layers in dirt, and find out how soap and detergents work. A recipe for “mud cake” is also provided and is guaranteed to please.

     The illustrations, comprised of colour photographs, diagrams, drawings and amusing cartoons, are perfectly suited to the text. Along the bottom of each page is a border consisting of a layer of dirt. Even the front cover will elicit a chuckle as it shows the soles of someone’s absolutely filthy feet. A table of contents, a glossary and an index are included.

     A great read!

Highly Recommended.

Gail Hamilton is a teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
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