Skip to main content

Science Comics: Volcanoes - Fire and Life by Jon Chad, 128 pp, RL 3

With Volcanoes: Fire and Life, Jon Chad adds the third and newest title to FirstSecond's fantastic series, Science Comics. While I am not a fan of non-fiction, I find I am able to ingest it with large doses of illustrations, making graphic novels (and narrative non-fiction picture books) the perfect way for me to get my RDA of facts. I especially LOVE what Jon Chad has done with his addition to the Science Comics series by wrapping a very cool (literally) narrative around his volcano facts.

Volcanoes: Fire and Life opens (after a forward by some scientists) on a frozen landscape sometime in the future where young Aurora, or Rory, is searching through a long abandoned house looking for items with the longest burn time. Another Ice Age has befallen the Earth and survivors look for fuel to burn, soaking up what little solar energy is available to them. When Rory, her siblings Sol and Luna, and their leader/teacher Pallas travel far from their tribe searching for fuel and find a library that hasn't been raided yet, Rory finds something that changes her life - a book about volcanoes. As they are scanning the books into their portable database before they burn them so as not to lose the valuable knowledge inside, Rory begins reading a book about volcanoes.

Excited by what she has discovered, she wants to share it with the rest of the crew. Rory's moments of discovery are where the facts come in. Here, Chad starts at the crust of the earth and goes from there, informing readers about how volcanoes are made, the various kinds of volcanoes there are as well as the varying kinds of lava the spew forth - and at what rate and volume they spew! I really had no idea volcanoes were so complex and varied.

As the narrative of Volcanoes: Fire and Life unfolds, we learn that volcanoes, which may be the saving force for Rory's tribe, are also possibly what caused the Ice Age! The role of volcanoes in Earth's carbon cycle and Volcanic Winters, like those documented after the eruption of Krakatoa in 1883, Mt. Tambora in 1815 and Mt. Pinatubo in 1991 are also explored and absolutely fascinating!

There is a happy ending for Rory and her tribe find a Hotspot, specifically the Cobb Hotspot! Chad wraps up his book with the Hawaiian Islands, a series of islands made from hotspot activity that can be used to determine the rate at which the plates are moving! A glossary and a list of further reader make up the final pages of Volcanoes: Fire and Life.

Books 1 & 2 in the Science Comics Series:


Source: Review Copy


Popular posts from this blog

POP-UP: Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book, paper engineering by Ruth Wickings, illustrations by Frances Castle RL: All ages

POP-UP:  Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book with paper engineering by Ruth Wickings and illustrations by Frances Castle is THE COOLEST BOOK EVER!!!  I know that I haven't dedicated much time to pop-up books here, but they have always held a special place in my heart, and the phrase "paper engineering" is a favorite of mine. Although I didn't know what it was at the time, I did go through a paper engineering phase when I was ten or so. I would sneak off to the back of the classroom during independent work periods and go to town on the construction paper and glue and make these little free-standing dioramas. A huge fan of The Muppet Show (the original), I reconstructed the all-baby orchestra from an episode, drawing and coloring each baby and his/her instrument then gluing them onto a 3D orchestra section I had crafted out of brown construction paper.  I also made a 3D version of Snidely Whiplash throwing Nell off a cliff with Dudley Do-Right wa…

Made by Dad: 67 Blueprints for Making Cool Stuff - Projects You Can Build For (and With) Kids! by Scott Bedford

On his personal website, Scott Bedforddescribes himself as an "Award Winning Online Creative Professional" working within the advertising and design industry. What is more interesting (and applicable here) is how hisWhat I Made website came to be. While sitting in a Starbucks with his restless young sons, trying to enjoy his latte, Bedford created something out of coffee stir sticks that ended up keeping his boys entertained, finishing his coffee in peace and sparking (re-sparking, really) his creative drive and reminding him of the "enormous joy gained from making things, even simple things, and that this joy is not the complexity or quality of the finished project but in the process of making itself. On Bedford'sWhat I Made website, he even shares Six Cool Coffee Shop Crafts for Kidsthat you can try out next time you want to enjoy your coffee and your kids are making that difficult. I've shared two below - be sure to check out the website and see the rest!


The Seeing Stick, written by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Daniela J Terrazini

The Seeing Stick is an original Chinese fairy tale written by the prolific (and prolifically award winning) Jane Yolen. First published in 1977 with illustrations by Remy Charlip (author and illustrator of the brilliantly fun picture book Fortunately and friend and muse to Brian Selznick, who asked him to pose as George Méliès while he was working on the Caldecott winning The Invention of Hugo CabretThe Seeing Stick was reissued with new illustrations by Daniela J. Terrazini in 2009. I have not seen Charlip's version, but Terrazini's is a beautiful work of art and the book itself is yet another magnificently packaged book published by Running Press, the house that brought us Steven Arntson's The Wikkeling, yet another superbly and uniquely packaged children's book with artwork by Terrazini. Interestingly, both The Wikkeling and The Seeing Stick were designed by Frances J Soo Ping Chow.

The Seeing Stick begins, "Once in the ancient walled citadel of Peking there l…