Julie Vosburgh Agnone and Kerry Hyndman
What on Earth Books
Author Julie Vosburgh Agnone starts by giving a general description of a river and then takes readers on an exploration of freshwater waterways all around the world. She and illustrator Kerry Hyndman then present more than a hundred rivers explaining as they go subjects including measurement, source and flow,
as well as what is to be found in and also around rivers, and the humans living and working in their vicinity.
Crop growing has long been an important activity with dates and other fruits, grains and vegetables having been watered by water from the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers since ancient times when Sumerian farmers designed irrigation methods to divert the river water.
Many rivers, we’re told, contain fish species in abundance including perch, catfish and trout while others yield freshwater crabs and shrimps that can make a tasty meal.
I was fascinated to read about pancakes – not the edible variety but ones made of ice that are occasionally formed in the River Dee in Scotland.
In contrast the Boiling River in Peru has water hot enough to cook an egg.
Some rivers – the Amazon, the Yangtze and another Chinese river, the Li – are allocated a spread each while other spreads are topical including treasures found in rivers, industry, feats of engineering and threats to divers with short titled paragraphs presenting the facts set into or around stylised illustrations.
Kerry Hyndman uses a variety of visual layouts that include vignettes,
close-ups, arial views and broad river scenes as well as making good use of texture and shadow to help maintain readers’ interest throughout. There’s also a central foldout map showing the location of each river mentioned as well as giving some fun river-related lists. A glossary, index and resource list comprise the four final pages.
Altogether a fascinating and informative resource book for individual browsing and KS2/3 school collections.