Sunday 15 November 2009

Rocks and Minerals by Dan Green and Simon Basher

October 2009, Kingfisher
128 pages, Paperback
Review copy


Ease of reading: 5
Level of information: 5
Pencils: 5
Smiles: 4
Yunaleska's recommended rating: ♥♥♥♥

Why do I want to know about rocks and minerals? For that, you'll have to ask my Muse. This book has a key stage 3 & 4 rating (for those outside England that is the level of education for secondary school pupils (and sixth form), which tells me the intended target audience is school children. Keeping that in mind, I believe Rocks and Minerals is suitable for all readers.

This is a subject which could be quite dry, but one that had me laughing away. First of all there are the cool illustrations - as a manga/anime/video game fan, that's the type of style which came to my mind. Each rock and mineral has a picture generally on one page of the book. On the other page the details are as follow:

  • Name of rock/mineral
  • The group it belongs to
  • 3 facts about the rock/mineral in bullet points
  • A paragraph or two about the rock/mineral. This is the entertaining part. It is written in first person, using humourous language. Usually there is a brief yet detailed mention of how the rock/mineral is formed, which other rocks/minerals it can be found with and what it is used for.
  • At the bottom are 6 small bullet points (not numbered in the book) covering the following
  1. What the rock/mineral is made of.
  2. Symbol [possibly from the periodic table) or grain size or chemical formula
  3. Hardness (using a scale explained in the book)
  4. Colour
  5. Origin or common name or deposits (where its found) or what is a source of or pressure and temperature it is formed by or crystal system.
  6. Lookalike
What makes the book even easier to use and cross reference is the colour coding system. Each of the eight sections have different colours. This are depicted in a row of small coloured squares at the top right of each page full of information. There is a small blob in one square on each page, relating to which section the page is in. Additionally this colour coding system is applied to the background of all the pictures, and on the edge, in the centre of both pages there is a large square, colour coordinated with a simple line drawing of the particular rock/mineral that is on the page.

This is great for ease of reference, and also if students need to learn about the rocks and minerals. They would instantly know which section they are in, which narrows down the type of rock or mineral they could be looking at.

For most people this small book probably holds all the information they would need on rocks and minerals. I like the pull out chart at the back which shows the hardness grading, with a rock or mineral for each level. It is also a good starting point for those interested in exploring the topic further. I wish more reference books could be written in this fun way.

There are other topics in the series including Astronomy, Biology, The Periodic Table and Physics by the same authors. I've got my eye on the Astronomy one, thanks to the fun I've had with this one.

Liked this? Try Children's Atlas of World History by Simon Adams

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