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Rocks and Minerals: A Gem of a Read    by Dan Green & Simon Basher order for
Rocks and Minerals
by Dan Green
Order:  USA  Can
Kingfisher, 2009 (2009)
* * *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

'Geology is the most down-to-earth of all the sciences. It's gritty and lets you get your hands dirty,' writes Charles Lyell in this book's introduction. 'You may not have realized it, but the rocks and minerals under our feet hold secrets of our planet. Understanding where they come from and how they form helps us answer questions about how the Earth fits in with the solar system, how long it has been here, and how we came to live on it.'

In this latest title in the Basher Science series, young readers ages ten and up will discover all sorts of amazing facts about the composition of minerals and the process by which they are formed and changed. From intricate fossilized plants and animals, from how rocks are formed to how meteorites crash into Earth, to a discussion of a variety of minerals and crystals, this books covers a wide range of geological information.

First person narratives describe each concept, system or object, introducing the reader to the key ideas while quirky, memorable illustrations visually interpret these ideas. The bottom line is making heady scientific material accessible to youngsters in a format that will not only pique their curiosity but also make them wish to do further research in the discipline.

For example, the silver entry reads, 'White and shining, I am one of the oldest precious metals. Sadly, I tarnish in air, leaving black stains of silver sulfide. I am minted as coins and used for jewelry, cutlery, and ornaments. I am a catalyst (I help create chemical reactions) in many industrial processes. Bacteria and fungi can't stand me, so I've been used to treat wounds.'

A pull-out poster featuring minerals found on the Mohs Scale of hardness is also included with this book. Talc is at one end with a rating of 1 and diamond is at the other with a hardness rating of 10.

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