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

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