Review Blog

Mar 04 2019

Australian Backyard Earth Scientist by Peter Macinnis

cover image

NLA Publishing, 2019. ISBN: 9780642279347.
(Age: 8-15) Highly recommended. Themes: Geology, Earthquakes and Volcanoes, Water, Weather, Climate Change. This is a spectacular book, written in an genuinely accessible style. In a very simple manner, the book explains scientific information about the earth's history and the forces and influences that have created and shaped our world. I was incredibly impressed at the way Macinnis has distilled significant scientific detail into language clear enough for a young reader to understand, without avoiding difficult concepts. The detail about complex issues such as tectonic shift, earth science, climate change, volcanic action and weather influences in the world is exceptionally clear and is interspersed with brilliant photographic detail and practical projects or experiments to help an interested child to recognise principles for themselves. There is no 'barrow' pushed or covering over of difficult issues, rather there is simple honesty of the difficulty of explaining the complexity of the scientific influences and understanding of the geology of the earth and what has changed over time. This balanced perspective, both scientifically rigorous and honest in expressing the difficulties of being certain about what has had the most impact over the course of time is refreshing, and very suitable for a young reader.
This is a scientific book that also includes lots of Australian-focused information and examples and is presented with clarity and in a magazine-style format. All illustrations, tables and sidebars are clearly captioned and informative and even the quirky carton illustrations by Tony Flowers scattered through the book add to the visual appeal of this book. Careers of those who are involved in various aspects of the field being discussed in each chapter are explained (with an accompanying cartoon) - a useful addition to encourage STEM careers. This is certainly a book worth purchasing for a school library or gifting to a young reader who is fascinated by science.
Carolyn Hull
Editor's note: The author has a site 'with a large collection of big format pictures of rock/earth related things. . . All have a Creative Commons copyright allows non-commercial use in any form, with attribution and share-alike.' (Peter Macinnis)

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