The Book Reviews – Website

December 12, 2008

Heat Hazard Droughts

Heat Hazard Droughts 

Author: Claire Watts

Page Length: 48

Reading Level: 5

Genre: Non-Fiction

REVIEW: Heat Hazard Droughts is a fact-filled book about the weather phenomenon of the same name. It is a part of the “Turbulent Planet” series that highlights various occurrences in nature from an “engaging science text” format. From vivid pictures of starvation, drought, and relief efforts to historical accounts of the U.S. Dust Bowl and Great Fire of London, this book makes a great companion to any required science textbook. In addition to pictures and facts, the book contains defined vocabulary at the bottom of every page, predictive questions, tips on how to save water, and actual written accounts of human experiences during a drought.

This book really got me to think about how much water I waste as an individual. When you read about people forced to drink contaminated water to survive, it makes you stop and think. I learned that we as humans add to the increase in droughts because of the way we use the land (ie. farming too much in a single area for too long a period and stripping away too many trees). Also, I learned about the relief efforts of the Red Cross and UNICEF. The topics of climate change and global warming were also mentioned.

Many students may not be able to relate to the topic of drought. However, this book would be a good way for them to learn about a new topic. The book concludes with suggestions for further books to read on the topic as well as how to search for “drought” on the Internet. A glossary and index are also provided at the back.

I would definitely recommend this book to students, especially to those that struggle with an interest in science and nature.

AREAS FOR TEACHING: vocabulary, predictions, fact vs. opinion, text to self, text to world, historical context, reading a map, literature connections, Text to text with The Grapes of Wrath

RELATED BOOKS: Wild Weather: Drought by Catherine Chambers, Dust to Earth: Drought and Depression in the 1930s by Michael Cooper, Droughts of the Future by Paul Stein, and other books in the “Turbulent Planet” series

MOVIE CONNECTIONS: “The Grapes of Wrath” (1940), “The 20th Century with Mike Wallace: El Nino” (1996)


REVIEWED BY: Kevin Stratton


August 12, 2008

Fossil Fuel

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Fossil Fuel

Author: Nigel Saunders and Steven Chapman         

Page Length: 48

Reading Level: 6

Genre: Non-Fiction           

PLOT SUMMARY: Fossil Fuel begins with a description of fuels and the three different types: coal, oil, and natural gas.  It describes how each of the fuels originate, how they are extracted from the earth, and their multiple uses.  Next, the problems of fossil fuels are discussed and then the alternatives that are available for energy usage.

REVIEW: This is an educational and informative book that is written and presented in a format that is eye-catching and interesting.  The text is written on the center portion of the pages, but on the borders there are many supportive facts and illustrations that give additional information.  The pictures are colorful and authentic. In addition, there is a “Word Store” with definitions at the bottom of each page.  At the end of the book, the authors included sources to find more information about fossil fuels and a complete glossary.

This is a great book for boys who prefer non-fiction to fiction. 

AREAS FOR TEACHING: Main Idea and Supporting Details, Informative Texts

RELATED BOOKS: Science Topics: Energy, Energy Files: Water, Solar, Wind, Energy for Life: Fossil Fuels, Energy Essentials: Renewable Energy


REVIEWED BY: Shirley Wagner

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