Living in Chicago with great museums, the wee ones have become obsessed with rocks. It doesn’t help that a good friend is an AP science teacher who rigged a rock polishing gadget in their garage, and so the wee ones bring home all sorts of “cool” rocks that I often find in pockets and backpacks, ranging from pieces of asphalt to those horrid white shiny rocks people used to use to decorate their garden to what even I will admit are cool looking stones. In an effort to pare down the collecting, I jumped all over the book Rocks and Minerals by Dan Green, in the hopes that knowing more about the truly cool rocks will eliminate some of the duds from their collection.
This Scholastic book is fascinating, even for me who isn’t exactly a rock hound. I love that the book has glorious color photos of all sorts of rocks and minerals, many of which none of us had heard of before, that the wee ones can use to compare to their latest treasures and then agree with me that maybe we don’t have to keep that chunk of curb they just found.
Rocks and Minerals is so much more than just an identification guide, however. As with all Scholastic nonfiction books I’ve come across, this one includes all sorts of other relevant facts to broaden our knowledge. The book is broken down into four chapters in this over 100 page book, starting with inside earth that explains how rocks and minerals differ, how the earth forms rocks, and more. The next chapters cover rocks specifically, minerals, and gems.
Each chapter has multiple photos to expand on and demonstrate the short text filled with facts ranging from how rocks and minerals are different to how we use rocks in our daily lives to rocks we’ve discovered in space. Many pages also have a “more here” guide that may have relevant places to visit, experiments to try, things not to do, suggested reading on the topic, and more. I love that this helps further broaden the interest. And yes, there is a free digital companion book that you can download with a code inside the book.
But my overall favorite feature? There is a rock ID kit near the back of the book with a branch condition diagram. Does the rock contain a lot of crystals? Is the rock a pale color? Is the rock coarse grained, with crystals that are mostly larger than grains of rice? After following all the way through, it helps to ID what rock you have, with photos of the rocks to help confirm your identification.
Written by Michelle who has surreptitiously thrown away more rocks and pine cones and acorns than any mother should have to. See what other sneaky mom tricks she’s pulling on her blog Honest & Truly! or follow along with her on Twitter where she is also @HonestAndTruly.