Saturday, January 05, 2008

Book Review: Will It Blow?: Become a Volcano Detective at Mount St. Helens

This review was written by Alice Herold.*

Will It Blow?: Become a Volcano Detective at Mount St. Helens, by Elizabeth Rusch and illustrated by K.E. Lewis, is a fascinating book about Mount St. Helens. The book is packed full of informative facts yet presented in a way that is appealing to elementary and middle school students.

The reader is asked to predict if and when the volcano will erupt again. The information is presented in the form of cases to be solved. For example, in Case #1 the reader (detective) is asked to consider if there are shallow earthquakes greater than 1.0 and if there is more than one earthquake per day. In Case #2, the reader must look for evidence of carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, and sulfur dioxide.

The teacher in me loved the experiments interspersed throughout the book such as making a soda bottle volcano and competing in lava races with pancake syrup, cooking oil, and honey.

The illustrator, K.E. Lewis, provides illustrations in the form of cartoons which reminded me of Roy Lichtenstein's work. Real photographs of the stages of an eruption are included in the book.

The book ends with a glossary of terms, websites, and a list of books related to the subject. An empty page is included for the "detective" to make notes.

Will It Blow? is a wonderful non-fiction book. It's informative, educational, entertaining, well-written and illustrated. Thank you, Elizabeth Rusch and K.E. Lewis!
* Mom handed me a stack of reviews over the holiday (she writes them old-school). What a great gift!
Weekend reviews will be up tomorrow...