Exploring the Earth with John Wesley Powell

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Editorial Reviews

John Wesley Powell, born to abolitionist parents in 1842 Ohio, became a teacher and scientist, developed a lifelong interest in geology, and took part in several scientific expeditions as a mapmaker and geologist. Despite having lost his right arm in the Civil War, Powell continued to lead expeditions to explore the West, including two journeys mapping the Grand Canyon area. When Congress formed the U.S. Geological Survey and the Bureau of American Ethnology, Powell directed both programs until his retirement and death. Although occasionally marred by an overly juvenile "gee whiz" tone, this book adequately integrates complex historical and social issues into the details of Powell's life. Some overgeneralizations are present, particularly with respect to Native Americans, but they are understandable, considering the brevity of the biography. Interspersed "earth explores" activities relate well to the text but disrupt the flow of the narrative. Activities are appropriately detailed, clearly illustrated, and stress safety. The suggested activities are feasible, taking into account the fact that local landscapes might vary. The color illustrations and the book cover are outstanding; black-and-white portraits are mediocre. Unfamiliar terms are printed in bold and defined in the text. Part of the Naturalist's Apprentice Biographies series, this book could be a useful supplement to a middle school earth science class and might be helpful for cross-curricular activities integrating history and science. It might interest gung-ho young earth scientists but likely will not have broad appeal. Glossary. Index. Illus. Photos. Maps. Biblio. Chronology. VOYA CODES: 3Q 2P M (Readable without seriousdefects; For the YA with a special interest in the subject; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8). 2000, Lerner, 48p, $19.93. Ages 12 to 14. Reviewer: Sherry York

SOURCE: VOYA, October 2000 (Vol. 23, No. 4)

Children's Literature - Children's Literature
In 1842, eight-year-old John 'Wes' Powell began the study of nature -- an endeavor that would become his lifelong vocation. In the year 2000, it is possible to become a 'geo-scout' in much the same way. Such is the invitation extended in Michael Elsohn Ross' appealing union of historical fact and scientific direction. Part biography, part field guide, it encourages readers to explore the world that surrounds them just as Powell did. Reading about nature is not enough. With just a few simple tools (such as empty egg cartons, sunblock, and sturdy shoes) and this book, anyone can explore nature firsthand. Readers will be excited to get outdoors and follow in the footsteps of the remarkable naturalist. 2000, Carolrhoda, Ages 4 to 8, $19.93. Reviewer: Heidi Green
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6-An awkward combination of biography and geology lesson that ends up giving short shrift to both elements. Ross begins by making the ridiculous argument that Powell may have been influenced to study geology because people in his town threw rocks at him in response to his family's abolitionist ideas. While giving a cursory and dry account of an exciting life, the author has interspersed earth science activities that are either weak, or are more effectively introduced in other sources. There are a dozen photographs of Powell, his family, and his expeditions, the latter of which will leave readers wanting to see more. The full-color illustrations are not always drawn to scale, and are often too vague to convey their scientific value. Roger Bruns's John Wesley Powell (Enslow, 1997) is a more enjoyable biography, and better projects can be found in Janice VanCleave's Rocks and Minerals (Wiley, 1995) and Robert Wood's 39 Easy Geology Experiments (McGraw-Hill, 1991). Although the picture-book format may initially draw more readers than those three books, don't expect great demand for this title.-Andrew Medlar, Chicago Public Library, IL Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781575052540
  • Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 1/28/2000
  • Series: Naturalist's Apprentice Series
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 48
  • Age range: 8 - 11 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.10 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 0.40 (d)

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