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Children's LiteratureIn this science-based tale, readers are exposed to the complex geological forces that have gone into shaping a singular island near the Antarctic Peninsula. The story begins with a description of an island uninhabited by humans but home to penguins, seals, etc. and forever drifting at an indiscernible speed. Readers are then taken beneath the sea and introduced to the effects of shifting molten rock beneath the Earth's crust. In a rather abrupt jump in time and geography, the story moves on to life on the super continent of Pangaea about two hundred million years ago. Here, the idea of plate tectonics is introduced and used to describe the unique location of the initially described island that was once a part of Antarctica. Time passes, the island breaks away from the continent, volcanoes and earthquakes shape the land, the Ice Age takes hold, and, eventually, the thaw results in the island that becoming home to animal life. For reference, further information describing plate tectonics, the super continent, earthquakes, and the inside of the earth, plus a geological timeline for the island and an index are included. Although the scientific precepts in the text are complex and sometimes difficult to connect, the language throughout the text borders on poetry and captures the mystery and beauty of earth processes. The illustrations give visual life to the words—not always beautiful but true to the science behind the story. 2004, Viking, Ages 8 to 14.
—Wendy Glenn, Ph.D.