Mulder offers an upbeat exploration of the often-curious world of alternative energy.
Mulder has been around the world, and in so doing, she has been exposed to a wide variety of things that produce energy. Sure, there is the internal combustion engine, but there are also feet and bicycles and draft animals. There is coal, but there is also a whole family of vegetable oils, as well as poop, both animal and human. There is natural gas, but there is also pond scum. She generates her own energetic enthusiasm as she explains that most energy, at one point or another, comes from the sun. She comfortably introduces the role of carbon and photosynthesis, then the creation of fossil fuels. She delineates the drawbacks of fossil fuels, from carbon dioxide byproducts to sustainability, but she is also sensitive to the human urge to make life a tad easier: In terms of sheer effort, the horseless buggy looked pretty good compared to the horse, coal to splitting wood. By the time she gets to wind, solar, geothermal, tidal and wave energy, they seem positively industrial compared to the small-scale, local productions on display—and utterly feasible. The book is peppered with exotic photographs, as well as quick-shooting boxed items, to catch the attention of busy eyes.
A smart, welcoming introduction to alternative fuels, one that puts the greater world in readers’ hands. (Nonfiction. 8-12)