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Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Magic School Bus and the Climate Challenge, written by Joanna Cole and illustrated by Bruce Degen. Scholastic, 2010. $21.99 ages 6 and up

"Before you could say "North Pole", the Friz herded us onto the bus. She pushed a few buttons and pulled a few levers. Then we were on our way to the Arctic Sea - a place with a completely different climate."

I had been wondering about Miss Frizzle and her adventures on the Magic School Bus. I thought I wasn't seeing any because I don't spend my days at school anymore and I wasn't keeping up! Turns out I just didn't wait long enough. Miss Frizzle has a way of making science learning and important topics resonate with kids. In this book she tackles the issue of global warming; and with a few minor adjustments she and her students are off to discover what is happening in the north, and what our climate challenge really is.

These books have been tremendously successful because of the way that they provide an abundance of information without making it seem too much at one time. That is because the sharing is done in a variety of ways...part story, part charts, maps, questions and answers and detailed illustrations that help visual learners understand what is being discussed. There is always humor, plenty of adventure and a clear explanation of the science. So, one child can read it as a story, another can pore over the information charts and another can take a careful look as the artwork that accompanies the text. Everyone will come away from the book with some new background information. In terms of what we can do to help to stem global warming, there are many useful and thoughtful suggestions. Some are so simple. Awareness provides the needed guidance to make small changes that will reap huge rewards for the world and its inhabitants. We can make a difference. This book helps us figure out how to do it.

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