From School Library Journal
Grade 5-8. For readers searching for a science experiment or a project dealing with earthquakes or volcanoes, this book will be a solid source of ideas. Classroom teachers should find it a gold mine of facts and feats to make understanding the dynamics of these geological phenomena (and their effects on man-made structures) easier and more enjoyable. The use of the term game seems loosely applied (e.g., "Build a Seismometer Game" gives directions for constructing a seismometer) and seems to be more for appeal than accuracy. Safety instructions involving heat and flame are not always placed before the how-to's. Many of the accompanying diagrams are not on the same page as the instructions/information, which can lead to page-flipping confusion. For those who simply must create a volcanic eruption, there are several variations, which can be quite messy and/or slightly dangerous without adult supervision. A good deal of geology is imparted in the text. There is a chronology of important earthquakes and eruptions, and their global effects noted. While this title has its drawbacks, it is a rich source of experiments on a popular topic.?Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Scientific American
This rich, little book merits its long title, for it carries a brief and understandable text for readers in the upper primary grades, with a set of experiments, some gamelike, along with helpful drawings for each one, and a lively list of Qs and As. It began some time back when the children of P.S. 45 in the Bronx asked, "Mario, how do earthquakes work?" The two authors tell how. They are partners, expert structural engineers whose words build an unusually good base for the varied experiments, not always easy but always fun. Their text begins with an account of the earth's drifting continents and urges a reader to use his or her hands to model the forces that, on a huge scale over a long time, raise mountain ranges, suddenly set the earth a-shake, or start awesome ocean-crossing rollers that dwarf any hurricane surge. An early experiment uses a lightly boiled egg, whose shell is no bad image for the dozen big moving pieces of the earth's broken-crust tectonic plates. The ocean waves are modeled dramatically in the bathtub: simply with your hand or, more elaborately, using a few bricks and a piece of plywood. Add a few rice grains to a pot of boiling water to simulate the enormous slow currents of hot rock that power plate motions from below. These experiments are workable for one person, better still among a few young friends with some aid from teacher or parent. Myths surrounding earthquakes are recounted from around the world, blame put on giant but unseen bulls, dragons, turtles, even catfish. Birds, fish, horses and other animals of ordinary size can perhaps sense a quake soon to come; that issue is not yet closed.