Life in the Mountainsby Catherine Bradley
Kids are deeply concerned about the state of their world. These titles show how the environment was damaged and how it can be repaired.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's WeeklyCopiously illustrated with drawings and photographs, this accessible book offers an introduction to the climate, inhabitants and flora and fauna of these exotic regions. Ages 8-12. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Donna FreedmanThis reference work has beautiful color photos and an obvious environmental bent. (Among other things, kids are told to stop using aerosol sprays and to ask adults to use unleaded gasoline.) The pictures are not only gorgeous, they're interesting, and kids will learn much useful information about the polar regions, including fun facts like nicknames for fragments of the South Pole icecap ("bergy bits" and "growlers") and the fact that a penguin can dive underwater as deep as 164 feet. However, the book has at least one obvious mistake - it calls the aurora borealis "rare," when in fact it can be seen regularly - and an illustrated retelling of an Inuit creation myth shows people living in snow igloos, an unnecessary perpetuation of an extremely tired stereotype.
Children's LiteratureThis book provides an introduction to multiple facts about mountains, including their trees and plants, their human, animal, and insect inhabitants, and their formation, weather, and resources. Sharp, colorful photographs and drawings, as well as an effective use of white space, make the information eye appealing. A particular focus is to alert young readers to environmental damage and the need for attention to its repair. Much of this focus, however, seems unnecessarily didactic given the excellent ecology consciousness of today's youth. In addition, some oversimplified statements are misleading. For example "Today, trees cover only 4 per cent of mountainous Ethiopia, and there are often famines." The implication is that erosion alone has caused famine, with no mention of drought and war as primary contributors. Five pages of the twenty-five-page text are devoted to an explanatory tale, "How Coyote Stole Fire," which loosely incorporates the mountain theme. Also included is a sometimes tricky, rather than educational, true-false quiz. The pages that present scientific information and terms, however, introduce some unusual and intriguing subject matter that will interest young readers and prompt them to further exploration. Index and glossary included. 2000, Two-Can, and $4.95. Ages 7 to 12. Reviewer: Betty Hicks
School Library JournalGr 2-5-This overview features simple text and sharp, full-color photographs, and includes a time line of the poles' geological development and an Inuit folktale. Two-page chapters cover each topic, from geography and the different kinds of ice to the animals, birds, and people (in the Arctic) and Antarctic. The information is basic and the photographs and illustrations are interesting and appealing. However, the layout of the text is a bit cramped and hard to follow at times. A true-or-false quiz at the end tests reading comprehension and although trivial, does not detract from the book. A serviceable starting point for reports or for those with an interest in the subject.-Donna L. Scanlon, Lancaster Area Library, PA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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