Life As We Knew It

June 25, 2009

lifeWhen Miranda Evans hears astronomers have predicted that a meteor is going to hit the moon, she doesn’t think too much of it.  But when it hits, because the meteor is denser than believed, it pushes the moon closer to Earth.  This change in distance completely alters life on Earth, creating tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, floods, etc.  Miranda, along with her mother and brothers, must fight for survival in a new world of dangerous weather, decreasing supplies of food and water, lack of electricity and heat, and complete isolation.

Susan Beth Pfeffer wrote Life As We Knew It as a journal from Miranda’s perspective.  This makes the novel extremely compelling as readers get a true sense of what life is like for Miranda and her family.  We see her anger, fear, and sadness when dealing with this drastic change.  The descriptions are so vivid that it’s easy to get lost in the story, believing chocolate chips are rare delicacies and the sight of the large moon is unsettling.  Pfeffer’s second book is called the dead and the gone and follows the same scenario from the perspective of a new character in New York City.  I think I’ll be reading that one soon…


The Most Fantastic Atlas of the Whole Wide World

April 20, 2009

atlasA friend once told me that a great place to learn about something is to start with children’s books.  This non-fiction picture book illustrated by Lisa Swerling and Ralph Lazar and written by Simon Adams is a GREAT place to learn about Earth, world culture, and geography.  It’s jam-packed with information – from the solar system to weather to oceans to people to Earth’s structure and surface.  Alternated between these more general topics are fold-out pages of each continent.  Individual countries and their capitals are clearly labeled, and significant geographical features are mentioned in the margins.  When the pages are unfolded, the four-page spread goes into more detail on the countries that make up the continent, providing facts on history, architecture, and culture.

Each page is fully illustrated and has several sections begging to be observed.  At times there almost seems to be too much information for one read-through.  It is, however, perfect for reading again and again.  The sixth time through readers will surely see something they had missed before – even if it’s the clever quips the little Brainwaves have to say on each page that parents will love.  The Most Fantastic Atlas of the Whole Wide World is more entertaining than the Eyewitness non-fiction books, and I highly recommend it!