Last year we reviewed a cute little picture book by Walker. A quick search of our catalog, however, will find her name dotted throughout the nonfiction section, everywhere from mosquitos to the Civil War. Today she is bringing us to the very end of the Dewey Decimal system, and the very bottom of the panet.
Of course, 'bottom' depends on your perspective, doesn't it? As soon as we open the book we are greeted by a beautiful picture of the earth with Antarctica front and center. As most of our kids are used to seeing North America most prominently featured, teachers or parents could stop right here and teach an entire lesson. How do you suppose the globe is pictured in, say, a German science book? Australian? Grab a globe and try drawing the continents and oceans from different perspectives. Introduce the concept of hemispheres. Branch off into national or personal egocentrism and how that effects politics, culture, etc. Lots of great learning, and we haven't even reached the text!
The next page, and many many following, give us some breathtaking views of Antarctica. They almost make us want to go there ourselves - and we don't like cold! Need we remind you, we are turtles - cold-blooded - we spend our days basking under a sun lamp. It takes a lot to even tempt us to venture somewhere covered in (shudder) ice!
Walker begins with a description of exactly how cold it is, followed by an account of Robert Falcon Scott's ill-fated expedition, then contrasting it with more recent expeditions using modern technology. Vivid descriptions draw the reader in without being overly romanticized. Everything from geology to engineering to dinosaurs is covered rather thoroughly. A reluctant reader might skip around to the 'exciting parts', but any young person into science will devour every word.
A must-have for middle to high school libraries, and a good gift for your budding scientist. We give it a
5 out of 5