Picture this: It’s late at night. You’re asleep in bed, with lots of blankets covering you. Suddenly, you wake up all hot and sweaty, so you kick off the covers. Cool air hits your lets. Much better. You fall back to sleep and wake up refreshed, ready for school. Now picture the earth. Certain gases that have been collecting in the atmosphere for the past 100 years are creating a heavy blanket around the Earth. Heat from the sun gets trapped under the blanket and the Earth begins to feel too hot. But the Earth can’t just kick off that cover to cool down. This is global warming.
The Down-to-Earth Guide to Global Warming takes a look at the issue of global warming and strips away the fancy language to make the information accessible to children. Four sections look at the science behind the term, the effect on our weather, the animals and plants being pushed to the brink of (and beyond) existence and the practical steps that children can take to help. There is information on greenhouse gases and the greenhouse effect. The weird, wacky weather chapter details some of the extreme weather events that are attributed to global warming. From small animals to large, global warming effects population numbers and food supply with some animals facing extinction. With all the doom and gloom it’s easy to feel powerless, but the fourth chapter includes very practical and achievable measures that can impact on the effect each individual has on their own world.
The Down-to-Earth Guide to Global Warming is indeed that. Down-to-earth in both the practical sense and the idea that we need to change behaviours to keep the Earth’s temperature from rising with all the attendant consequences. David and Gordon have emphasised key points in coloured text and included information boxes to add facts and examples to the main text. Illustrations are mostly photos although there are also sketches to demonstrate and extend the information. Imaginative large font topic headers invite readers to dip in and learn. Each chapter is clearly headed, allowing readers to read in a linear fashion or to flip backwards and forwards to find the information they’re looking for. There are plenty of facts and figures, although as the authors indicate at the beginning, global warming is not static and information changes constantly.
Recommended for middle-primary readers and beyond, The Down-to-Earth Guide to Global Warming answers many questions and helps children to understand that they can be part of the solution.
The Down-to-Earth Guide to Global Warming, Laurie David & Cambria Gordon
Scholastic Australia 2008