WHY DO VOLCANOES BLOW THEIR TOPS?

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ABOUT VOLCANOES AND EARTHQUAKES

The Bergers present another solid and readable title in the Question and Answer Series, giving brief answers to tough questions about volcanoes and earthquakes: Where do they occur? What causes them? How do we measure them? Can we predict them? Do all volcanoes look alike? How often do earthquakes occur? Competent illustrations extend the text throughout, showing the reader the difference between a crater and a caldera, for instance, or mapping major plates of the earth’s crust, and illustrating three kinds of volcanoes and three different types of eruptions. There are the predictable “disaster” illustrations, as well: San Francisco on fire in 1906 and earthquake damage in Alaska in 1964. One minor concern with the format is that some of the questions appearing in red type on a blue background are hard to read. The brief text is factual and somewhat understated. For example, the authors say, “Number 1 on the Richter scale can be seen on a seismograph, but can’t be felt. Number 5 on the Richter scale is about as powerful as the explosion of a nuclear bomb. Anything over 8 means total destruction, usually with much loss of life.” They do not explain, however, that an increase of one whole number on the scale indicates a ten-fold increase in the magnitude of the quake. Nor do they make clear how a nuclear bomb causes less than total destruction. No sources or notes are given for the information included. Still, there’s a lot of information in this glossily bound package. With the glowing red volcano on the cover, clear white spaces, snappy question-and-answer format, and brief index, this title will have wide appeal for science readers and browsers. (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-439-09580-8

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2000

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THE PUMPKIN BOOK

The Pumpkin Book (32 pp.; $16.95; Sept. 15; 0-8234-1465-5): From seed to vine and blossom to table, Gibbons traces the growth cycle of everyone’s favorite autumn symbol—the pumpkin. Meticulous drawings detail the transformation of tiny seeds to the colorful gourds that appear at roadside stands and stores in the fall. Directions for planting a pumpkin patch, carving a jack-o’-lantern, and drying the seeds give young gardeners the instructions they need to grow and enjoy their own golden globes. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 1999

ISBN: 0-8234-1465-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1999

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SILVER RAIN BROWN

The hazy hot summer seems interminable for a young African-American boy and his pregnant mother. “Can’t cool down!” is the refrain that reverberates throughout the tale, and it’s literally true; lack of rain has put the city on a water conservation alert and the mother worries about all her flowers. Instead of despairing, mother and child surreptitiously water the plants using kitchen pots under the cloak of darkness; the theme of personal resilience and coping permeates the tale. A cooling, life-giving rain heralds the onset of the mother’s labor and the arrival of a new baby sister, Silver Rain Brown. The special bond between mother and son is readily apparent in Flavin’s full-page, full-color illustrations. As for the father, there is only one reference for readers to interpret: “Four a.m. and I can’t sleep, wishing Daddy would come back, wishing, wishing it would rain.” Helldorfer deftly captures the heavy oppressiveness of a summer heat wave, from children attempting to fry eggs on the sidewalk to short tempers and sleeping the hot days away, while Flavin’s illustrations artfully reflect the shimmering cityscapes. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-395-73093-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1999

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