Gr 4-6-This is the third in Robbins's quartet on medieval elements: Water, Earth, Air, and the yet-to-be-published Fire. As in the previous volumes, the author's personal musings are richer than the factual material report writers crave. He considers kites and parachutes but describes hurricanes and tornadoes. He ponders seed dispersion and rainbows while presenting radiation and meteors. The whole is tied together by his trademark black-and-white photographs, deftly and artistically hand-tinted. Robbins's carefully chosen palettes emphasize what he wishes readers to see in his writing, and complement his brief text page by page. For students seeking concrete, hard-edged facts, Lisa Yount and Mary Rodgers's Air and/or Mary Hoff and Mary Rodgers's Atmosphere (both Lerner, 1995) may be more useful, but for those who see the spectrum in raindrops and are aware of the sweeping currents in our invisible planetary envelope, Robbins's book is like Baby Bear's bowl of porridge-just right!-Patricia Manning, Eastchester Public Library, NY
This introduction to the air that surrounds us is a visual gem. The scientific properties and beneficial qualities of air, one of the elements necessary to sustain life, are described in brief, eloquently written vignettes that are beautifully complemented by hand-tinted photographs. The handsomely designed book, which is a companion to Robbins' "Water" (1994) and "Earth" , is a memorable, evocative, and powerful photo-essay that will be relished by young scientists and useful for teachers to incorporate into science units.