From the Outdoor School series

A stellar guide that engages readers with rocks, minerals, fossils, and shells.

Divided into well-organized, color-coded parts, this entry in the Outdoor School series promotes a get-out-there-and-do-it approach.

The book opens with “Rocks & Minerals,” covering the differences between the two, basic geology, and how rocks form. Armed with this knowledge, readers are encouraged to find rock samples and are walked through questions to classify their discoveries. Accessible and encouraging language as well as space to write down findings and check off tasks accomplished make this science fun and personal. The second section, “Fossils,” builds on readers’ acquired knowledge that sedimentary rocks are the best place to find fossils and gives them the tools needed to go out searching on their own. Information on setting up a dig, stabilizing delicate fossils, numbering discoveries, and more, is presented. A basic geologic time scale assists in identifying fossil age. The final part, “Shells,” has the same informative and user-friendly organization. Information on how shells are formed and their basic classification categories is paired with the hands-on activities of finding, cleaning, labelling, and identifying. Each section concludes with an illustrated informational guide showing common examples of the specimens under consideration and covering a broad geographical distribution. The superb content is presented in a sturdily bound volume with metal-edged corners that will hold up well in field conditions.

A stellar guide that engages readers with rocks, minerals, fossils, and shells. (index) (Nonfiction. 10-16)

Pub Date: April 27, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-23065-2

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Odd Dot

Review Posted Online: March 24, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2021


Erupt into applause for this picture book of the first magma-tude.

A deceptively simple, visually appealing, comprehensive explanation of volcanoes.

Gibbons packs an impressive number of facts into this browsable nonfiction picture book. The text begins with the awe of a volcanic eruption: “The ground begins to rumble…ash, hot lava and rock, and gases shoot up into the air.” Diagrams of the Earth’s structural layers—inner and outer core, mantle, and crust—undergird a discussion about why volcanoes occur. Simple maps of the Earth’s seven major tectonic plates show where volcanoes are likeliest to develop. Other spreads with bright, clearly labeled illustrations cover intriguing subtopics: four types of volcanoes and how they erupt; underwater volcanoes; well-known volcanoes and historic volcanic eruptions around the world; how to be safe in the vicinity of a volcano; and the work of scientists studying volcanoes and helping to predict eruptions. A page of eight facts about volcanoes wraps things up. The straightforward, concise prose will be easy for young readers to follow. As always, Gibbons manages to present a great deal of information in a compact form.

Erupt into applause for this picture book of the first magma-tude. (Nonfiction picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: Jan. 4, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4569-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021

1001 BEES

Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere.

This book is buzzing with trivia.

Follow a swarm of bees as they leave a beekeeper’s apiary in search of a new home. As the scout bees traverse the fields, readers are provided with a potpourri of facts and statements about bees. The information is scattered—much like the scout bees—and as a result, both the nominal plot and informational content are tissue-thin. There are some interesting facts throughout the book, but many pieces of trivia are too, well trivial, to prove useful. For example, as the bees travel, readers learn that “onion flowers are round and fluffy” and “fennel is a plant that is used in cooking.” Other facts are oversimplified and as a result are not accurate. For example, monofloral honey is defined as “made by bees who visit just one kind of flower” with no acknowledgment of the fact that bees may range widely, and swarm activity is described as a springtime event, when it can also occur in summer and early fall. The information in the book, such as species identification and measurement units, is directed toward British readers. The flat, thin-lined artwork does little to enhance the story, but an “I spy” game challenging readers to find a specific bee throughout is amusing.

Friends of these pollinators will be best served elsewhere. (Informational picture book. 8-10)

Pub Date: May 18, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-500-65265-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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