There are a lot of junky books out there, but every now and then, an unknown gem comes my way and makes me very thankful that I get to review books on occasion! An Environmental Guide from A to Z by Tim Magner (Green Sugar Press 2009) is just such a book.
Typical A-B-C- books are usually geared towards babies and toddlers and often leave older readers and adults cold. This book is a happy exception.
Picture an A-B-C book for older children with each letter representing an environmental or nature-related concept or important person. Each word is fully explained in easy to understand terms and is beautifully illustrated by Aubri Vincent-Barwood. “D is for Darwin,” “F is for Fossil Fuels, “ “I is for the Inuit Eskimos,” “R is for Reduce and Reuse.”
Each letter also has a “Did you know?” section with an interesting fact or two related to the topic. For example, in the “B is for Bees and Insects” section: “A bee’s buzz comes from their wings flapping 200 times per second!”
I even learned a few things: “Q is for Vo Quy,” “L is for Paolo Lugari” (read the book for more information) or “the average ‘piece of food’ travels 1,500 miles before it reaches your mouth….” How about: “with solar panels, Germany has nearly cut their use of coal in half” and “Denmark gets more than 20% of its electrical power from wind farms.” I love it when I find a well-written childrens’ book that actually also teaches me a thing or two.
Perhaps my favorite part of the book is that it doesn’t just limit itself to teaching facts, ideas and concepts, but it also asks questions encouraging children to think about their own lives. Each letter has at least one little oak leaf with questions on it, or sometimes activity ideas. “What’s the biggest tree in your neighborhood? How old is it?” Many of these questions will encourage kids to get outside: “Watching the animals in your neighborhood, can you see how they are built to survive?”
If you are looking for an informative and interesting book that teaches about the environment and “green living” without being preachy, then I encourage you to take a look at An Environmental Guide from A to Z. Many thanks to Tim for sending me a copy. This is a review copy that will remain on our shelf to be enjoyed for a long time to come!