Thursday, January 8, 2015
Buried Sunlight: how fossil fuels have changed the Earth by Molly Bang & Penny Chisholm
Buried Sunlight: how fossil fuels have changed the Earth by Molly Bang & Penny Chisholm. unpgd. Blue Sky Press/ Scholastic Inc., September, 2014. 9780545577854. (Finished copy courtesy of publisher for review)
Do you need help explaining what fossil fuels are formed and how human consumption is not only outstripping creation but burning a hole in the ozone layer? Look no further than this gorgeous picture book for older readers. It's absolutely gorgeous and absolutely understandable. I know I had to answer questions about photosynthesis on standardized tests way back when and, until my spectacular advanced biology teacher explained it in a way I could understand, I never got it. I wish this book was around then.
The sun is our narrator here. It took millions of years for the Earth to create the oxygen necessary for living things to survive. Tiny bacteria evolved into sea plants, plants that tiny sea animals could eat. Animals and plants eventually moved to land when there was enough oxygen in the air to support them. Over millions and millions of years, the dead plants and animals were buried deeper and deeper into the earth where, eventually, they changed into oil, coal and gas. In the two hundred years since humans have been industrialized, not only are fossil fuels being depleted, but the excess CO2 is burning a hole in the ozone layer and causing global temperatures to increase.
The palette is dominated by rich greens and blues and the folk style make the illustrations accessible and pleasing. Six pages of notes conclude the book with further explanations of the science and energy alternatives, making this a perfect picture book for slightly older readers. Teachers will definitely want to consider using it (and its companions, Ocean Sunlight and Living Sunlight) to introduce a unit in science or the environment.