Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Parents' Choice Awards : Books : Non-Fiction
Don't Know Much About Planet Earth

Don't Know Much About Planet Earth

Fall 2001 Non-Fiction
Ages: 8 - 12 yrs.
Author: Kenneth Davis
Illustrator: Tom Bloom
ISBN: 0060285990
Hardcover Price: $19.95
In this latest addition to the Don't Know Much About series, Davis takes on the topic of geography. In ten short chapters, readers travel the seven continents and learn a bit about cartography, deserts, rain forests and more. Typical of the series' format, this selection offers quick explanations and anecdotes about the nature of geography or the earth sciences. Scattered throughout the book are lists of the highest, the longest, the biggest (river, mountain, desert, lake, etc.).

Readers desiring depth of information or instruction will not find it here. However, Don't Know Much About the Planet Earth is an entertaining offering of fun facts and trivia. For example: Do compass needles point north in Antarctica? (No). How green is Greenland? (Not very. It's mostly covered with ice). Who (or what) were Australia's most unruly immigrants? (Rabbits. They were first introduced in 1859 and within fifty years had multiplied like, well, rabbits). Is the Dead Sea Dead? (Yes. But, technically it's a lake, not a sea).

Surprisingly, there aren't many maps in this book about geography, and that may be a weakness. Nevertheless, this title does encourage students to understand that geography is more than just the study of map making; it also includes the study of how people "shape -- and are shaped by -- the shape of the world." Don't Know Much About the Planet Earth is entertaining reading, but it's definitely Science Lite.

Roxanne Burg   ©2001 Parents' Choice

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