Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Children’s Book Review, Australian Backyard Earth Scientist


Children's Book Review by Susan Stephenson, www.thebookchook.com



Australian Backyard Earth Scientist is by Peter Macinnis and published by NLA (2019.) RRP: $Au 29.99

I have previously reviewed Macinnis’ The Australian Backyard Naturalist and The Big Book of Australian History.

From the publisher:

Find out where rain comes from and what geysers look like! Read about soil becoming too salty and why greenhouse gases are increasing. Did you know that fog is a cloud sitting on the ground and that ice can tell you about the environment of millions of years ago? And what is lightning anyway? Australian Backyard Earth Scientist is full of fantastic photos and fascinating information that help explain different aspects of earth science - a science that discovered how old the Earth is, what fossils tell us, how mountains were created, what causes earthquakes, what the difference between weather and climate is, and why glaciers are melting.

From the beginnings of the planet through to climate change, 'Australian Backyard Earth Scientist' includes interesting and fun facts and projects help develop an understanding and appreciation - like making your own fossils, collecting cloud types, and using tree rings to find out about past weather. Young readers can discover the influences that have fashioned our earth - and are still acting to change it.

If you know Macinnis’ other books, you will not be surprised by the excellence of this one. Using language and sentence structure children will understand, the author delves into earth science, explaining what it is, and encouraging kids to delve into it right alongside him. The format of this book, like the others, is well-designed, with intriguing photographs, maps, diagrams, colourful headings and call-outs, cartoons, sketches, project pages, and special fonts - as well as all the explanations a young scientist could ever hope for.

I loved the hands-on projects Macinnis leads children through, so they can discover earth science for themselves. I also loved the cute cartoons that popped up to add humour and visual interest. There is evidence of meticulous research and scrupulous editing, and above all the enormous effort that has gone into making the subject matter accessible and entertaining.

With chapters about Rocks, Erosion, Water, Weather, The Oceans, Climate Change … and snippets about glaciers, salination, lightning strikes, king tides, carbon-dating - including what it’s like inside a volcano from personal experience - this is not just a book for schools, but also one adults can dip into, be fascinated by and learn from. I recommend it to both public and school libraries, and to homes where science and knowledge are valued.

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