Monday, March 27, 2017

Nonfiction Monday: When the sky breaks by Simon Winchester and Warning: Wild Weather Ahead by Theo Baker

In 2016, while weeding the juvenile nonfiction, I hit our majorly outdated weather section. "Nobody ever wants juvenile weather books" I thought. "I will get rid of the detritus and add new materials at my leisure".

Ha ha ha ha ha.

Guess what? The school has a new curriculum. They want lots and lots and lots and lots of weather books at all levels. I am getting new weather books now.

Fortunately, various review sources came through for me with lots of possibilities. I'm look at two very different titles, at different levels, from Penguin imprints today.

When the sky breaks, by journalist and adult author Simon Winchester, is aimed at strong middle grade readers. It explores storms, especially tornadoes, hurricanes, and other extreme weather, the science behind how they are formed, effects of climate change, and more. Extensive back matter supplements the already impressive amount of knowledge packed into the book. This book feels like a backyard enthusiast wandering through an interesting collection of facts and knowledge - which it largely is. Winchester talks about everything from his personal collection of barometers to weather phenomena in the Pacific ocean, including the economic and personal effects of weather along the way.

For younger readers, Penguin Core Concepts has a simpler but more organized approach. Warning: Wild Weather Ahead covers a lot of the same concepts but in simpler, more abbreviated form. Each spread covers a different phenomena; the water cycle, tornadoes, rainbows, etc. with a few extra facts on each page. There are no sources for these titles and they are illustrated with standard photography and have a simple, square layout. Beginning to intermediate readers will be able to tackle these "nonfiction storybooks."

Verdict: I would say these are both supplemental texts. When the sky breaks will appeal to strong readers who are interested in science and weather and want something that will spark off ideas for further research and exploration. Warning: Wild Weather Ahead is a good starter text for younger readers; the main drawback is that it is available only in paperback. If, like me, you are trying to rapidly expand a subject area I recommend both, although I am waiting to see if Warning: Wild Weather Ahead is available in prebind.

When the sky breaks
ISBN: 9780451476357; Published 2017 by Viking; Purchased for the library; Review copy provided by publisher

Warning: Wild weather ahead
ISBN: 9780448488738; Published 2017 by Grosset & Dunlap; Review copy provided by publisher

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