Saturday, June 5, 2010

Nonfiction Saturday

Well, all my great library books are due today so here is my quickie review of the top three fantastic nonfiction books peaceful girl and I picked out.

What's Inside? Fascinating Structures Around the World by Giles Laroche (2009)
Includes a great glossary of each structure.

This is such a cool book for any child who loves to explore.  Each page opens the door to the amazing discovery on the next page.  Like this:  King Tut's tomb is hidden underground(shown on the opposite page),  but this brightly painted building was constructed on the rocky crest of a hill so it could always be seen silhouetted against the sky.  Monumental rows of Doric columns support triangular pediments at each end and surround a sanctuary that shelters a statue of this Greek city's namesake.  What's inside?  Turning the page you discover an ivory and gold statue of the goddess Athena!  Along the left side of the page are specific details about each structure.   The Guggenheim Museum in NYC, a Shaker dairy barn in Massachusetts, and the Sydney Opera House in Australia are just a few shown.   Wild Rose Reader has a more extensive review-click here-as well as an interview with Giles Laroche.

If Stones Could Speak; unlocking the secrets of Stonehenge by Marc Aronson with the generous cooperation of Mike Parker Pearson and the Riverside Project. (2010)  This is as much a story of the mysterious Stonehenge structure as it is a look at archaelogist Mike Parker Pearson.  Aronson tags along with Pearson as he guides a tour around Stonehenge.  I would love to see these boulders placed in circle formation more than 4,500 years ago but in case I don't make it this book gives a really close look at the types of rocks used, where they came from and the many theoriesof  how it all came to be.   This is a fascinating detailed look for budding archeologists.  Includes glossary and timeline as well. Another review is here at  Shelf-Employed .

Circle of Rice, Cycle of Life; A Story of Sustainable Farming by Jan Reynolds (2009)

This is a very detailed and lovely look at the cultural and environmental aspects of traditional Balinese rice farming, a model of sustainable food production.  Everybody eats rice-every culture-but this book shows how the island of Bali has coordinated life around the rice cultavation.  Because the Balinese were so adept at sharing water and growing rice, the Indonesian government decided (red flag) Bali should produce more rice.  They provided Bali farmers with a hybrid rice-set to grow faster and produce higher yields and the farmers were told to ignore their ancient water schedules and integrated systems of field rotation.  Bali's rice production suffered under these new practices.  "This type of chemically enhanced agriculture was not sustainable.  It could not maintain healthy, abundant crops of rice year after year, even with the aid of chemical pesticides and fertilizers."  Eventually farmers were able to go back to their system with the help of anthropologist, L. Stephen Lansing from the University of California.   This book is a wonderful tool to build understanding on how sustainable agriculture affects every form of life.  Fabulous photographs are included as well as a glossary and pronunciation guide.

Have fun exploring these interesting and informative titles.

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