Day: November 13, 2014

Review: Buried Sunlight by Molly Bang

buried sunlight

Buried Sunlight: How Fossil Fuels Have Changed the Earth by Molly Bang & Penny Chisholm

Everything needs energy in order to grow and we also need energy to run machines.  This energy comes from the sun though it may be stored as fossil fuels underground.  The fossil fuels have stored that energy inside them and it is released when they are burned.  This book looks at how sunlight energy is stored in fossil fuels, explaining photosynthesis and the balance of oxygen on the planet.  It speaks to the way that oxygen was first released to the atmosphere and the millions of years that it took to create fossil fuels.  The book then informs readers about the impact of carbon dioxide on the planet and the resulting climate change.  In the end, the book lets readers know that the choice for the future of the planet is theirs.

Bang worked with Chisholm, an award-winning MIT professor on the information in the book.  Told from the point of view of the sun, the book takes a clear and scientific tone throughout, enhanced by the more personal point of view.  The information is compellingly presented and interesting.  The final pages of the book offer even more details about the fossil fuel process for those looking for more in-depth information.

Bang’s illustrations capture the information of graphs along with an artistic feel.  She manages to keep it scientific but also speak to the wonder of the process and the beauty of the captured sunlight energy. 

This fourth book in their Sunlight series continues the combination of science, beauty and natural wonder.  Appropriate for ages 5-9.

Reviewed from library copy.

Review: Wall by Tom Clohosy Cole

wall

Wall by Tom Clohosy Cole

When the Berlin Wall was built, a boy was separated from his father who was on the other side.  His mother told him that his father was in a place where life was better.  They were not allowed to leave their side of Berlin.  The boy dreamed of his father coming and rescuing them, but he knew that was unlikely to happen.  So he started to plan ways to get past the wall himself.  Other people tried to get past the wall, many of them died in their attempts.  But it was worth the risk to see his father once again, so the boy started digging out in the woods near the wall.  When the tunnel was ready, the boy led his family to it, but along the way they were stopped by a soldier.  Would this be the end of their brave journey to reunite their family?

Cole captures the separation and division caused by the Berlin Wall.  He also clearly shows the fierce drive of a family to reunite and be together once again.  Told in very simple sentences, the book relies on its fine artwork to carry the story.  It is the art that conveys the danger, the deaths and the risks that people took to see loved ones again or to attain freedom. 

The art here is exceptional.  Cole uses lighting on his pages to show the hope of the West versus the darkness and gray of the other side of the wall.  The illustrations are atmospheric and dramatic.  They convey the feeling of isolation and the fear. 

A strong picture book about the Berlin Wall and the power of family and hope.  Appropriate for ages 4-6.

Reviewed from library copy.