Monday, October 5, 2015

Exploring Nitty Gritty Planet Earth with the Dirtmeister

Dirtmeister's Nitty Gritty Planet Earth
by Steve Tomecek
128 pages; ages 8-12
National Geographic Kids, 2015

If you want to know all about rocks, minerals, fossils, earthquakes, volcanoes - and even dirt - then dig into this book. Chapters begin with some cartoonish introductions and then delve into the science of.... our planet.

Steve Tomecek, aka "the Dirtmeister", is a geologist who studies the blood and guts - er, the strata - of the Earth. He begins at the most logical place: wa-a-ay back when the earth was nothing more than spinning dust.

To get a feel for how geologists "tell time", he takes us on a field trip down the Grand Canyon, where we can see layers and layers of sedimentary rock laid down over the eons, and explains how scientists use radioactive decay to determine the age of rocks. In addition to learning about the innards of the Earth we also learn about the bling: the minerals and gems and shiny metals that can be found within the crust. Plus the volcanoes and erosion and plate techtonics.

Scattered throughout the pages are "Dirtmeister nuggets - bits of info that add to our understanding of geology - and short bios of scientists who've studied the earth. Like the guy who discovered that the continents are not staying put, but are drifting about.

For teachers & homeschoolers, there's a page at the back that lists STEM science standards, and for everyone there's a handy index. (I love indexes!)

Today we're joining the roundup over at the Nonfiction Monday blog where you'll find even more book reviews. Review copy provided by the publisher.

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