Monday, April 5, 2010

How the World Works: A Hands-On Guide to Our Amazing Planet

By Christian Dorion,

illustrated by Beverley Young

Templar Books, 2010

$17.99, ages 9-12, 18 pages

This cleverly designed science book puts the processes that guide Earth into a child's hands.

Pull-outs, flaps, pop-ups and even a mini flip book illustrate the basics of Earth's activities: how Earth began, how seasons change, how plates shape the planet, why weather changes, how the carbon cycle works and more.

There are also fascinating facts that meander along the edges of pages or appear in little boxes, as well as answers to questions a reader might ask, such as "What if there was no moon?" The reader need only pull a tab to see the earth spinning in a blur.

Best Parts: What better way to teach a child about his impacts on the environment than a lift-the-flap that breaks down the carbon footprint of a cheeseburger?

Lift every layer from the bun to the pickles (condiments excluded) to find out how much carbon is emitted to produce each one, and eventually the whole burger. (A grand total of 4 lbs., 2 oz. of carbon, the weight of 19 Quarter Pounders!)

Equally fascinating is a fold-out of tips we've learned from nature; for example, the reason engineers put ridges on the blades of wind turbines is because they observed that the bumpy fins on humpback whales reduce their drag in water.

Other favorites include a mini flip book that shows how the continents of Earth slid over millions of years, and pull-outs that show mountains being pushed up and magma oozing out of the earth as plates separate.

I loved this interactive book for all that it does to make the earth's processes interesting and easy to grasp.

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