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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Volcano Rising


Monday mornings in the library office are my favorite. My teaching partner and I talk about books. Both of us bring the books we have read over the weekend and discuss the merits and shortfalls of each, trading titles and generally reaching the same conclusions. One of our favorites from yesterday is Volcano Rising by Elizabeth Rusch.

It is a book that can be read on multiple levels. One is the basic text across the top of most pages, telling how volcanoes work. The processes of a volcano rising form a narrative on each page. The second involves the more-detailed descriptions found below those first lines. Smaller type face provides details about each process, as well as specific volcano facts from around the world. A creative eruption, for example, occurs when the vents open and gases escape. Lava oozes or sprays, causing the lava dome to expand. These are more likely to occur than violent (destructive) eruptions by three times. A destructive eruption, on the other hand, occurs when gases trapped or blocked in vents lead to a build-up of pressure...and then an explosion! Bold text shows the onomatopoeic words that volcanoes make as they bubble and sputter. The book is so well-organized and intriguing! Readers (and listeners) will be engrossed.

The final way to read the book is visually, through Susan Swan's incredible illustrations. The copyright page lists this excellent description of them: "Illustrations created by manipulating found objects, hand-painted papers, and scans of objects and textures in Adobe Photoshop to create new patterns; adding digital paintings; and then collaging the two together."

Add to all this greatness a powerful Volcano Vocabulary (+ excellent pronunciation guidelines), and the result is a fascinating book about one of children's favorite topics!

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