Book review: Rocks, by Claudia Martin

Martin, Claudia. Rocks (Discover our World series). Quarto Publishing, 2018. $26.65. ISBN 9781682973974. 24 pages. Ages 7-10. P7 Q7

Have you ever wondered how rocks are formed? The reader will learn about rocks, sand, caves, minerals, metals, gems and fossils. Text boxes with facts are set in photographs showing a visual of the facts, engaging the reader and enlightening them further. The reader can move from chapter to chapter based on their interest, the book does not need to be read straight through. This format makes the book easier for children to read. In the Discover our World series, this book includes an index, table of contents and glossary.

Verdict: For children who are interested in rocks, this book provides many facts and photographs that will broaden their knowledge. I recommend this book for elementary school and public libraries. Teachers and homeschool families will find this book valuable.

November 2018 review by Tami Harris.


Book review: A Chip Off the Old Block, by Jody Jensen Shaffer, illustrated by Daniel Miyares

Shaffer, Jody Jensen. A Chip Off the Old Block. Illustrated by Daniel Miyares. Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin Young Readers Group, 2018. Unpaged.$17.99. ISBN 9780399173882. Ages 4-6. P8Q7

Geological puns abound in this story of a pebble named Rocky who wants to make an impact like his rock star relatives—his Aunt Etna, his Uncle Gibralter, Great-Grandma Half Dome.  Rocky leaves his sedimentary home despite being told that he is too small and travels from California to Arizona, Wyoming to South Dakota.  He finally comes to rest after many adventures in a place just right for him.

Verdict: The cartoonish illustrations combine with rocky puns to make this a pleasantly humorous story.  I can see it being used in storytimes for kindergarten through first grade classes.  Students may not recognize some of the landmarks, giving teachers the chance to introduce  places as well as basic concepts of geology.  Recommended for kindergarten through elementary as well as public library collections.

October 2018 review by Jane Cothron.

Book review: A Stone for Sascha, by Aaron Becker

Becker, Aaron. A Stone for Sascha. Candlewick Press, 2018. Unpaged. $17.99. ISBN 9780763665968. Ages 5-up. P7Q8

A young girl collects flowers to leave on the grave of a beloved dog and then the family leaves for a trip to the beach.  The grieving girl finds a golden stone whose history began with the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs and then played a part in many cultures thoughout the world’s history, becoming smaller and smaller with the passing time.  The girl finds closure as she places the special stone on the dog’s grave.

Verdict: The soft focus illustrations in this wordless picture book convey both the enormity of the stone’s history and the emotions of the family, not least the loneliness of losing a beloved pet.  Aaron Becker is also the author/illustrator of other wordless picture books, Journey, Quest, and Return. Highly recommended for kindergarten, elementary, and public library collections.

May 2018 review by Jane Cothron.

Book review: Rock Explorer series, two titles by Claudia Martin

Martin, Claudia. Fossils. (Rock Explorer series). QEB/Quarto Publishing, 2018. $26.65. ISBN 9781682973264. 24 pages. Ages 6-9. P7 Q8

Not only can fossils tell us about the past, they are fun to find and there are so many types. Starting off with the definition of fossils and moving on to how fossils form this reference book includes photographs and facts that will entice children to learn more about fossils. Fossil facts are inserted among the photographs, which makes it easy to read and not overwhelming. This book can be read straight through or readers can pick and choose the chapters they are interested in. In the Rock Explorer series, this book Includes a table of contents, glossary and fossil guide.

Verdict: Children who are interested in learning more about fossils will enjoy this book, which is full of facts and photographs. This book is great for units on fossils. I work in an elementary school and students often ask me how fossils and petrified wood are formed. This book has easy to understand explanations of fossil formation. As an adult who likes to find fossils, I found this book interesting and engaging.


Martin, Claudia. Minerals. (Rock Explorer series). QEB/Quarto Publishing, 2018. $26.65. ISBN 9781682973240. 24 pages. Ages 6-9. P7 Q8

What is a mineral and how does it form? Did you know that there are around 5,000 different minerals? Mineral facts inserted around the colorful photographs will keep children’s interest. This book features amazing crystals, shining metals, strange and powerful minerals, most deadly minerals, and useful minerals. In the Rock Explorer series, this book includes a table of contents, glossary and mineral guide. The photographs are large and colorful. Readers will be not only be able to identify minerals, they will also know why the minerals are important.

Verdict: Children who are interested in minerals will enjoy this fact filled book filled with beautiful photographs. Useful for a unit on minerals. As an adult who likes to learn more about minerals, I found this book interesting and engaging.

March 2018 reviews by Tami Harris.