________________ CM . . . . Volume XVI Number 38 . . . . June 4, 2010

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Catastrophic Weather. (Protecting Our Planet).

Sarah Levete.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2010.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $9.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (RLB.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-5227-1 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-5210-3 (RLB.).

Subject Headings:
Climatic changes-Environmental aspects-Juvenile literature.
Weather-Juvenile literature
Global warming-Juvenile literature.

Grades 5-8 / Ages 10-13.

Review by Suzanne Pierson.

**** /4

   
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Destroying the Oceans. (Protecting Our Planet).

Sarah Levete.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2010.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $9.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (RLB.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-5228-8 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-5211-0 (RLB.).

Subject Headings:
Marine pollution-Juvenile literature.
Environmental degradation-Juvenile literature
Marine ecology-Juvenile literature.

Grades 5-8 / Ages 10-13.

Review by Suzanne Pierson.

**** /4

   
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Energy in Crisis. (Protecting Our Planet).

Catherine Chambers.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2010.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $9.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (RLB.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-5229-5 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-5212-7 (RLB.).

Subject Headings:
Power resources-Juvenile literature.
Renewable energy sources-Juvenile literature.

Grades 5-8 / Ages 10-13.

Review by Suzanne Pierson.

**** /4

   
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Habitats and Wildlife in Danger. (Protecting Our Planet).

Sarah Levete.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2010.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $9.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (RLB.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-5230-1 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-5213-4 (RLB.).

Subject Headings:
Endangered species-Juvenile literature.
Endangered ecosystems-Juvenile literature
Habitat conservation-Juvenile literature.
Environmental degradation-Juvenile literature.

Grades 5-8 / Ages 10-13.

Review by Suzanne Pierson.

**** /4

   
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Threatened Wetlands. (Protecting Our Planet).

Catherine Chambers.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2010.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $9.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (RLB.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-5231-8 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-5214-1 (RLB.).

Subject Headings:
Wetlands-Juvenile literature.
Wetland ecology-Juvenile literature.
Wetland conservation-Juvenile literature.
Environmental degradation-Juvenile literature.

Grades 5-8 / Ages 10-13.

Review by Suzanne Pierson.

**** /4

   
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Toxins in the Food Chain. (Protecting Our Planet).

Sarah Levete.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2010.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $9.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (RLB.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-52232-5(pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-5215-8 (RLB.).

Subject Headings:
Food contamination-Juvenile literature.
Food toxicology-Juvenile literature
Food chains (Ecology-Juvenile literature.

Grades 5-8 / Ages 10-13.

Review by Suzanne Pierson.

**** /4

excerpt:

Poisonous seas

On our seas, tides of algal blooms can look spectacular. But some algae can poison the food chain. Humans can become very ill if they eat shellfish that have taken in toxins from these algae. The toxins can cause two main illnesses: Paralytic Shell Poisoning, with causes paralysis, or loss of movement in the body, and Amnesic Shell Poisoning, which causes amnesia, or loss of memory, or even death. These poisonous algal blooms appear as “red tides.” (From Toxins in the Food Chain.)

 

 

The series, “Protecting Our Planet,” examines the effects of human activity on plants, animals, land, water, and weather. Each book in the series has a specific focus, but there is some natural overlap due to the inter-relatedness of many of the issues. For example, damage done to coral reefs is discussed in both Habitats and Wildlife in Danger and Destroying the Oceans.

     Using case studies, quotations from experts, fact banks, and beautiful, well-captioned photos, each book presents an alarming picture of the damage that humans have done to the planet. However, as the title of the series states, the real focus of each book is to promote positive action to protect our planet before it is too late.

     Text boxes titled “What Can Be Done?” raise questions and provide some suggestions for actions that can be taken now to address the issues in each book.

What Can Be Done?

Some people donate money to plant trees when they take a long flight, because a tree will absorb carbon dioxide emissions is often described as making a journey “carbon neutral”. But it may take over 20 years for a growing tree to absorb all the carbon produced by a single flight. If this is not strictly a sustainable solution, we need to find fuels that do not release so many harmful gases. Perhaps we should change our habits and fly less frequently. (From Energy in Crisis.)


     Each book ends with a section titled “Protecting Our Planet” which includes a summary of key suggestions, “How Can We Protect Our Planet?”

     Each book also includes a table of contents, a simple glossary and index, and a list of further readings and web sites. The result is a well organized and useful resource for beginning researchers.

     It is difficult to find a weakness in the series. The picture caption on page 25 in Threatened Wetlands is incomplete. Colour is spelled color, the American spelling. Both are such minor flaws that they cannot interfere with the overall quality of the series.

     Strengths are easier to identify. The clarity and quality of the photographs will greatly enhance the ability of young student researchers to access and use the information in the text. Satellite images, underwater photos, close ups and aerial photos are all used to enrich the experience for the reader. The text is well organized with double page spreads on each sub-heading.

     In Catastrophic Weather, the causes and effects of hurricanes, drought, floods, cyclones, and other weather catastrophes are examined. The role that humans have played in climate change and global warming is discussed. Although the book looks carefully at the impact of severe weather on humans, the real message is to encourage the reader to take action to prevent human activity from worsening the effects of climate change.

     Destroying the Oceans looks at the causes and effects of human actions on the oceans and the plants and animals that live in them. Climate change, pollution, animal habitat, the food chain, and the role and impact of development are all examined. One example describes how something as innocent as a plastic bag blowing into the sea after a picnic at the beach eventually leads to the suffocation of a deep-sea turtle that tries to eat it. One of the suggestions in “How Can We Protect Our Planet” reminds readers to not litter.

Whenever you take a trip to the seaside, always take your litter home with you. Remember that a plastic bag can kill a dolphin.


     Energy in Crisis contains a good discussion of the pros and cons of alternate energy sources, such as wind, solar, geothermal, hydropower, tides, nuclear, and biomass. Each discussion tries to consider the real bottom line for the world. When considering the issue of wind power, for example, the energy used to produce the concrete in the wind turbine poles is part of the discussion. Readers are urged to consider sustainability in their life style decisions.

     Habitats and Wildlife in Danger notes that nature’s balance is being disrupted by human activity, including war, development, pollution, and unsustainable farming practices. The destruction of habitats in grasslands, wetlands, coral reefs, seashores and seas, polar regions, and rainforest are examined. In addition to the effects on both the plants and animals that lose their habit, this book also highlights the impact to human survival of losing plants and animals that provide us with food and medicine.

     Threatened Wetlands shows how wetlands play an important role in helping to control water flow and regulate climate, particularly through the absorption of greenhouse gases. Wetlands are threatened by development, and climate change. This book looks at ways that human activity is threatening wetlands around the world, and ways that people can reduce that impact.

     Toxins in the Food Chain explores both the causes and effects of toxins in our food chain. The section, “Toxins in technology,” for example, includes a look at the poisonous metals from e-waste (computers and other electronics). Not only do arsenic, barium, selenium, cadmium, lead, mercury, and chromium cause serious and fatal illnesses to the animals and humans when they enter the food chain, but people in poorer countries are most seriously affected when e-waste is shipped and dumped without proper disposal considerations. Fortunately, once again, readers are provided with suggestions of ways to reduce their own toxic pollution, such as using natural cleaning products.

     Whether purchased separately or as a series, these books, will be a useful resource for student to learn not only what we have been doing wrong and the impact our actions have had, but also, what we can do now to reduce the impact and start to make a difference.

Highly Recommended.

Suzanne Pierson is a retired teacher-librarian, currently instructing librarianship courses at Queen’s University in Kingston, ON.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.
 

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