Secrets of the Mountain / Rock Explorer: Minerals & Rock Explorer: Fossils

Secrets of the Mountain
Libby Walden and Richard Jones
Caterpillar Books

The mountain referred to in the title of this breathtakingly beautiful book is I think, part of the Rocky Mountain Range.

Libby Walden’s narrative takes readers to spend a day on the mountain observing the plethora of animals that make it their home be that on the plains, the slopes or the mountaintop.

It begins as the sun rises and starting at the summit, day dawns. A breeze moves down the mountainside waking the furry pikas to look for their morning food.

At midday, the forest erupts with birdsong and sunlight glows among the trees.

Animals large and small are on the move.
Then come sundown, the air is cool: night is drawing in and the bears can sense it …

Then is the time to seek a place to sleep and let the nocturnal hunters take over in the shadows of the night-time forest while, watched by the patrolling wolf, the moon illuminates the rolling plains and the mountain lion stands waiting for yet another dawn to awaken the chorus of birdsong.

Everything has changed, yet everything is the same: evolving and ever constant, both.

From gorgeous front endpaper to back endpaper (the final one comprises 48 small named pictures of the mountain fauna), every one of Richard Jones’ spreads is simply stunning in its beauty.

Rock Explorer: Minerals
Rock Explorer: Fossils

Claudia Martin
QED

These are two titles of the four in a series of very visual books that introduce aspects of geology to younger readers. This is an under represented topic and yet once children are introduced to it, they are often fascinated.
Minerals looks at their formation, location and use. Did you know for instance, that fluorite is used in toothpaste and feldspar is used in making glass and pottery?

Fossils explains what a fossil is, outlines how they form, where to hunt for fossils and what we can learn from them. I was intrigued to discover that the Victorians first discovered fossilised Dinosaur poo – hmm.
Clearly and invitingly presented with good quality photographs, both are worthwhile additions to a primary classroom or school library.

The Street Beneath My Feet

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The Street Beneath My Feet
Charlotte Guillain and Yuval Zommer
Words & Pictures
This large format volume takes the form of a concertina book that invites readers to stop and look down, posing the question, ‘What’s going on deep in the ground under your feet?’ and then takes them, layer by layer down, down through the earth’s structure to its core, and back again.
Through Charlotte Guillain’s accessible narrative style text and Yuval Zommer’s super-stylish illustrations the whole experience encompasses aspects of biology, archaeology, geology and civil engineering …

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There are questions such as ‘Who do you think wore this helmet on their head?’ to ponder and perhaps research,

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as well as less satisfying ones like ‘What’s that loud rumbling noise making the ground shake?’ that are immediately answered by the next sentence. In fact, any small paragraph or picture might generate some research if it catches the interest of a young reader and that, must surely be part of the intention of the joint enterprise.
Those same readers may well find themselves getting a little dizzy at the point the pace accelerates with ‘Let’s pick up speed as we delve down deeper. Hold on tight because things are about to get shaky. We’re deep in the Earth’s crust now and things are moving!’ and there follows talk of an earthquake and how it happens.

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If you can’t experience the real things, this book is a stimulating substitute; alternatively and better, read the book and then, enthused by what is between its covers, get out into the world and discover first hand, what lies under the ground beneath your feet in your particular part of the world.