Two intrepid librarians

Two intrepid librarians review the best nonfiction books for children

Sunday, April 24, 2011


Oil Spill! Disaster in the Gulf of Mexico
Elaine Landau
Millbrook Press, 2011
ISBN 978076137485
This reviewer checked out this book from her local public library.

In 32 pages this nonfiction title, aimed at readers grades 4 thru 7, asks the question: Is there anything we can do to stop this from ever happening again, given the world's dependency on oil?  That's a no-brainer for me.  Stop driving cars!

Chapter 1.  April 20, 2010
"The day started out well for the crew on the Deepwater Horizon Oil Rig."  By 9:45 PM, "the crew knew they were in trouble."  The short chapter goes on to explain what happened that caused the explosion that begin the horrible spill.
Chapter 2 Stopping the Leak
Chapter 3 The Cleanup
Chapter 4 Disastrous Effects
Chapter 5 What's To Be Done.

The book's jacket cover will certainly grab readers' attention.  Inside, the black letters on a cream background make the book easy to read.  The large color photos are well placed throughout the book, sometimes two to a page.  The captions are white letters on a red background that really stand out.

Colorful diagrams are also included to help readers understand how specific key components in offshore drilling work.  Such as the Blowout Preventor, that very important devise that should have prevented the oil from leaking.

Landau, a strong writer of nonfiction, makes it clear from the get-go that BP was responsible for this massive environmental disaster.  She points out how our depencey on oil is a key factor in contributing to this disaster and goes on to say that "People everywhere can help bring change in another way -- by using less energy and fewer natural resources" we'll use less oil and, hopefully, reduce the chances of an oil spill.

The book includes tips on "What You Can Do" by writing to your representative in Congress. "Go Greener."  A brief look at "Oil's Messy History" helps children understand how destructive and long-lasting an oil spill is for our fragile planet.

Also included is a glossary, source notes, further reading and websites, and an index.

The book will be very useful in displays during Earth Day or about the environment.  Because of its brevity, middle schoolers may shy away from using it as a resource for a report.

I have to admit that it made me very sad to read it because, as an adult, I know that we should be doing more to protect the Earth and work towards oil independence.  In my Utopia, people walk, ride bikes, take trains or buses and oil guzzlers are a thing of the past.

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