One of my kids has always been fascinated with volcanoes. I’m pretty sure that he just thinks that the potential for explosion is cool. And that’s pretty much the picture I have of volcanoes, big powerful disastrous eruptions of lava and ash. What I loved about Volcano Rising by Elizabeth Rusch is that it focuses on the creative nature of volcanoes and not the destructive side that we stereotypically think of.
Rusch shows how volcanoes make new mountains, both on land and below the sea. She uses examples around the world to show how volcanoes are currently involved in changing the landscape around them. I appreciated that each page had two levels of text, one in bolder print that is fairly simple yet still gives a solid understanding of volcanoes and creative eruptions. The second smaller text block gives more in-depth information for those kids who want to learn more. This is a great way to write a book that can appeal to multiple ages. You could easily skip the smaller text while reading this book out loud to young elementary students, yet an older student could read all the text as research for a project on volcanoes (or just for fun).
The beautiful mixed-media illustrations by Susan Swan complement the text. The photo of the cover shown above doesn’t really do justice to the intensity of the colors and textures in the book itself. Suffice to say that as good as the writing is, this one would almost be worth picking up just to look at.
This book is a nominee for a Cybils Award in the Elementary and Middle Grade Non-Fiction category for which I am a Round 1 panelist. I obtained a copy of the book from my library. My opinions are my own and don’t necessarily reflect those of the other panelists.