By Wendell A. Duffield
Mountain Press, $16.00, 90 pages

With Wendell A. Duffield’s book What So Hot About Volcanoes? you don’t have to plan a trip to Hawaii or Iceland to explain the awe-inspiring wonder of volcanoes. Each year between 50 to 100 volcanoes erupt above sea level. The volcano is like the safety valve on a pressure cooker. When the inside of Earth reaches 9,000 to 11,000 degrees Fahrenheit, volcanoes release the pent-up heat and that creates the eruption. The book’s 20 color illustrations and 50 color photographs, collected by Bronze Black, are stunning – lava flows creep along residential streets, lava spews into the air, and a lava fountain 300 feet long and 50 feet high are all captured on film. Duffield, a geologist and volcanologist, explains how volcanoes were formed millions of years ago, what they look like and when they explode. Also addressed is how scientists conquer the challenge of predicting eruptions. The book is marketed for young adults and general readers. Duffield uses technical terms, charts, and diagrams. Younger readers new to scientific texts will need adult guidance. This book is a great resource for inquisitive students who are looking for more information outside of the classroom. A glossary, list of resources and a map of volcanoes to explore are included.

Reviewed by Kathryn Franklin