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DIRT by Steve Tomecek


by Steve Tomecek & illustrated by Nancy Woodman

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-7922-8204-3
Publisher: National Geographic

Lots of neat facts and easy-to-read explanations about dirt (or soil, as the scientists prefer) can be found in this Jump Into Science title for young readers. For example, “Just one square foot of good forest soil can be home to as many as 300,000 different living things.” And “Around the world, soil scientists have discovered more than 100,000 different types of soil!” While the text is compelling throughout, the illustrations, with an elaborately costumed, energetic mole and a host of other creatures diving in and out of the soil, can be distracting. Sand (2000), another title illustrated by Woodman, used photographs and art to dramatic effect; this one uses pen and watercolor drawings exclusively. It’s hard to make painted dirt look like the real thing. But for the intended audience, those likely to be playing in the topic themselves, there’s plenty to think about and they’re sure to look more closely (for earthworms, roots, and even dead leaves) as they consider that “dirt made your dinner.” Instructions for making and exploring a soil ecosystem in a bottle complete the picture. (Nonfiction. 4-8)