CM . . . . Volume XV Number 13. . . .February 20, 2009.
Canada’s Rocks and Minerals. (Canada Close Up).
Toronto, ON: Scholastic Canada, 2007.
52 pp., pbk., $6.99.
Grades 2-4 / Ages 7-9.
Review by Gillian Richardson.
Deep underground, a lot of heat and pressure can do amazing things to plain old rock. It can create mineral crystals that are extra hard and clear as glass, and often brightly coloured. These minerals are loved for their beauty. When they are cut and polished, they become gems.
Did you know that minerals can grow? It’s true! If they have enough room, and a lot of time, all minerals can grow into shapes that we call crystals. There are many different crystal shapes. Some crystals look like a bunch of grapes. Others look like pick-up sticks, or chunky building blocks.
Early readers who like to collect rocks will find this small book interesting for its basic and accessible information. It begins with a simple explanation of how rocks have formed through Earth’s history, of how they are composed of one or more minerals, and it identifies the main types. Readers will learn about the formation of igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rock with examples of each to help them identify their discoveries. A chapter is devoted to showing where in Canada the various types of rock are found and mined. (One point of inaccuracy: Saskatchewan is left out of the list of provinces covered in part by the Canadian Shield where many minerals are found.) Canada is a source of much of the world’s mineral supply of uranium and zinc, and some of its gemstones (e.g. ammolite) are unique to this country. Advice on how to start a rock collection, identify and label your treasures, and learn more about them completes the text.
After presenting the basic details of the ‘how and where’ of rocks in Canada, the book focuses on special interest rocks and minerals that are of value. Diamonds, emeralds and sapphires are mined in the north. Two of the world’s largest geodes were found in Canada. We may also have the oldest minerals, and best fossils, at the Royal Tyrrell Museum and the Burgess Shale in BC. Meteorites are also mentioned. Lots to inspire the young rock hound and encourage further investigation! The book includes clear, helpful photos, and a map to show the best areas of Canada to find certain minerals.
Gillian Richardson is a freelance writer living in BC.
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