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Earth Matters: An Encyclopedia of Ecology    by David de Rothschild order for
Earth Matters
by David de Rothschild
Order:  USA  Can
DK Publishing, 2008 (2008)
* * *   Reviewed by Deb Kincaid

David de Rothschild is a climate change activist, author, and global adventurer. How appropriate that De Rothschild serve as consultant editor for the science book (aimed at ages 8-18) titled Earth Matters: An Encyclopedia of Ecology. I cannot say enough good things about this fascinating book.

The first thing that grabs the reader is the extensive use of colorful graphic illustrations: timelines, diagrams, photographs, and maps. Second, the narrative is age-appropriate, not overly technical in its use of words and statistics. Metaphors, analogies, and examples enable younger readers to grasp complex principles such as the greenhouse effect. Third, the tone is warm but scientific, intellectually appealing but not overly emotional, as it instills a sense of awe for planet Earth and what's at stake. It is a tricky dance to inspire younger readers to respect the earth and live sustainably while not scaring the daylights out of them, but Earth Matters balances the two very well.

The book's Introduction section covers Earth's origins and changes; the roles of carbon, water, and energy; how waste is generated and the meaning of sustainable life; and concludes with an overview of Earth's ecosystems and biomes. Subsequent sections of the book provide details pertinent to specific ecosystems, emphasizing the fact that Earth is one giant, interrelated ecosystem that requires careful upkeep. Earth Matters ends with a section titled Helping the Earth.

Exemplifying sustainability, the book was produced with Forest Stewardship Council certified paper, printed with vegetable inks, and plain, brown card stock book covers were derived from recycled paper. Parents, school districts, and public libraries should make good use of this wonderfully designed, youth-friendly book.

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