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Children's LiteratureGarish colors, multiple type faces, and pages swarming with different shapes, photos, charts, and graphs make this volume of the "Discovery Channel School Science" series look busy, but not especially attractive. So much is going on that some sections are a hodge-podge of information rather than a coherent whole. Conservation issues addressed include water and river pollution, trees, rain forests, energy sources, soil conservation, and America's national parks. Since each topic covers a double-page spread, information is necessarily limited to what will fit in that space. Two of the most interesting sections feature short biographies of conservationists John Muir and Aldo Leopold and an account of a journey through the Amazon's rain forest from a pink dolphin's point of view (a possible model for student writing). Teen readers may be most attracted to a spread showing statistics and consequences of a series of environmental disasters like the Exxon Valdez oil spill and the deadly chemical gases in Bhopal, India. Each topic concludes with its own suggested activity, some more interesting than others; most will require guidance by an adult. Those who celebrate Earth Day can find information on its founding by Gaylord Nelson and facts related to the holiday, while the final activity, presumably to be attempted after a fair amount of study, involves writing an environmental constitution for the United States. Teachers could find the information and activities (with modifications) useful, but would need to supplement with many other books, videos, field trips, and internet research. 2004, Gareth Stevens, Ages 10 to 14.
—Barbara L. Talcroft