CM . . .
. Volume XXI Number 29 . . . . April 3, 2015
These four entries in the “Natural Resources Close Up” series present young readers with basic information about air, rocks and minerals, soil, and water. Why Do We Need Air? defines gases, details how plants and animals use oxygen and carbon dioxide, discusses wind and weather, explains air pollution, and describes possible remedies. Why Do We Need Rocks and Minerals? defines these solid land resources; discusses crystals, metals, and gems; explains how several kinds of rocks are formed; and encourages reusing and recycling. Why Do We Need Soil? explains the composition of this organic/inorganic substance, describes various soil types and where they can be found, details the ways plants and animals use dirt, and makes clear how soil is threatened and how it can be protected. Likewise, Why Do We Neeed Water? distinguishes fresh and salt water, explains adaptations that allow plants and animals to live in and around it, details how water is used by humans, and describes how it can be conserved and protected.
Throughout the series, each page offers brief text and one or more full colour photographs. Some photographs are captioned; others include unanswered sidebar “what do you think?” questions. The final page of each volume provides a glossary/index of words to know (defined within the text but not in the appendix), an activity, and related titles (most from Crabtree) and web sites.
While the series is attractive and well-suited to curricular support, these titles sometimes disappoint in terms of specific content and vocabulary. Why Do We Need Rocks and Minerals?, for example, states: “There are three types of rocks,” and goes on to describe sedimentary rocks without ever using that term. The following spread (cited above) describes igneous and metamorphic rocks—again without offering specific vocabulary. As a result, the text can be confusing. Certainly, these are texts aimed at a young audience, but that same population manages to properly pronounce and keep straight many species of dinosaurs with no problem.
Although not an essential purchase, these titles in the “Natural Resources Close Up” series will be useful for libraries hoping to supplement their natural resources titles for young readers.
Recommended with Reservations.
Kay Weisman, a librarian and reviewer, now writes “Information Matters” for School Library Monthly and works as a youth librarian at West Vancouver Memorial Library.
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