B is for Blue Planet
by Ruth Strother

Price at time of review: $16.95
Sleeping Bear Press
Chelsea, MI
ISBN: 9781585364541

Grade Level: 3-5

Reviewed by CBC Reviewer

Don't be fooled by the title. This "alphabet book" isn't for primary students, although readers of any age might be captivated by its huge, double–page photos. Brief thematic text introduces each diverse topic with large image—N is for Northern lights, O is for oil, T is for tides, Z is for zones. Then more detailed text in columns on both pages provides deeper content that will interest and inform both middle level students and adults.

Readers can learn about the solar wind and the aurora, the layers of the Earth, and even the origins of quicksand. This NSTA/CBC Outstanding Science Trade Book has many uses for teachers and students. Its large, graphical design makes it possible to use as a group. Each individual page has a potential to start a discussion or motivate student inquiry. The extensive background sections in the sidebars can provide more reading for motivated students or help a teacher supplement his or her knowledge. A "Facts" page at the end talks about climate change and adds a few bits of trivia about topics like amber and earthquakes. The diverse topics can link to almost any area of an Earth science curriculum. This alphabetic collection of "appetizers" will certainly whet the interest of listeners and readers and encourage more investigation of our Blue Planet.

Review posted on 2/15/2012

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