Close to the Wind
by Peter Malone

Price at time of review: $16.99
40 pp.
Penguin Books
New York, NY
ISBN: 9780399243998

Grade Level: 3-5

Reviewed by CBC Reviewer

This beautifully illustrated book describes the development of the 13-point wind scale by British naval officer Francis Beaufort. The process is brought to life in magnificent paintings and detailed diagrams, with a text that represents the shipboard journal of a young midshipman.

The book interweaves the facts about Beaufort with typical sights and sounds of a period sailing adventure. There are bits of poetry, art, and even legend to enrich the text. Each level of the Beaufort scale is illustrated with an example to which readers can relate.

There are details about ship design and strong storms that will lend themselves to classroom inquiry (although the implementation is left to the reader or teacher.) The book might be used for meteorology, ocean science, or even engineering challenges (such as building model sailboats.)

The reading level is appropriate to the middle grades, but script fonts may make it more challenging for some. This rich book was named an NSTA/CBC Outstanding Trade Book for 2008.

Review posted on 2/8/2008

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