CM . . .
. Volume IX Number 2 . . . . September 20, 2002
Earthquake is the second book in the Kids Can Press "Disaster"series. The use of a newspaper-style cover and the similar headline story format throughout the book catch the attention of young readers.
Cynthia Pratt Nicolson, author of several science titles such as The Planets and Volcano!, provides children with easy-to-read information on the intriguing topic of earthquakes. Bold headlines like "Where the Action Is" and "Swallowed Alive!" draw the reader's attention to different aspects of the study of earthquakes. In Earthquake! children begin by reading about the devastation caused by this disaster. They then explore the geology of the earth to learn what causes earthquakes, where they are most likely to be found and the intensity scale used to measure them. Descriptions of famous earthquakes and the effects of this disaster, such as fires and giant ocean waves, further capture the interest of readers of all ages. The book concludes with information on how we continue to find ways to protect ourselves from another of earth's disasters.
The newspaper layout for Earthquake! presents information on this topic in a dramatic narrative style. This style is familiar to young readers. It assists in their comprehension of the information and engages their attention. Simple diagrams, charts and a glossary also help to explain the science of earthquakes. The numerous, well-selected photographs with accompanying captions enhance the text. The use of headlines for chapter titles does not assist the young researcher in using the table of contents as a location feature in researching specific information. However, the index will help in locating keywords. An interesting and appealing feature of the book is the inclusion of hands-on activities. The materials needed are household items, and the activities help the young scientist discover the concept being discussed using a "hands-on" approach.
Earthquake! will be a useful resource for understanding one of the great forces of nature. Not only will its readers gain information about how earthquakes are created and the destruction they wreak, they will also learn about how scientists, geologists and engineers are helping us prepare for them. The true-life stories add interest and understanding to this disaster. Earthquake! will lead young readers to other questions for further research into this fascinating topic.
Janice Foster is a teacher in Fort Garry School Division in Winnipeg, MB.
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