By Elizabeth Rusch, Illustrated by Susan Swan
Charlesbridge Press, $17.95, 32 pages
Effective science books for children tend to mix concise and interesting text with visually creative art. Volcano Rising, written by Elizabeth Rusch, explodes with exciting stories about the science behind volcanic eruptions and beautiful images depicting scientific exploration and how human societies that live in close proximity to volcanoes handle eruptions. Volcano Rising brings readers across the globe, from the Cascade Range in Oregon and the Yellowstone Caldera to Iceland and Italy. Volcanic activity is even explored under glaciers and on the seafloor. Rusch stresses that while most may think of volcanoes as being destructive, the geologic processes at work in fact are responsible for the creation of mountain, islands, and new land. Artist Susan Swan captures the immensity of volcanoes and the dynamic nature of the processes in action through a combination of hand-painted paper and digital manipulations to create new patterns.
Readers can find a Volcano Vocabulary glossary at the end of the book, to review such words as dormant, pāhoehoe, and tephra. Through exploring eight different volcanoes, Rusch and Swan have brought forth in Volcano Rising an exciting introduction to volcanoes for young readers that will grab their curiosity and get them asking questions.
Reviewed by Michael Barton