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Children's LiteraturePart of the "Earthform" series, this title answers basic questions about the fiery mountains in a clear if unimaginative manner. Each topic—including "What are Volcanoes," "How do Volcanoes Form," and "Plants on Volcanoes"—is discussed in one, two, or three paragraphs with a facing page photo illustrating the point. Vocabulary words such as minerals, microbes, and atmosphere, are defined in the glossary at the end, not in the text. My only complaint, other than pedantic layout, is the lack of discussion of plate tectonics. Shifting plates are mentioned once and then referred to again at the end of the book. Since the concept is so important to volcanoes, I think it should have had its own double-spread section. Like other books by this publisher, the back matter includes an invitation to visit Facthound.com, a filtering device for web searches. Facthound.com is a wonderful innovation because it keeps children safe while doing research on the web. The reader is invited to type in the query and Facthound.com returns a list of vetted sites. 2006, Bridgestone Books/Capstone Press, Ages 6 to 8.
—Amy S. Hansen