Samantha Grover loves soil. She loves soil so much she is a soil scientist. Inspired by her work, Samantha has written this exciting book introducing the fascinating world of mud and dirt to children.
How can learning about soil be interesting for children (except for making mud pies) you may ask? Samantha is passionate about her field, and has two young children herself, so she is an excellent candidate for sharing her knowledge with children.
The narrative opens by focusing on a boy called James who is learning about dirt, and everything in it. James enjoys getting mucky, but is also interested in what he is actually playing with. He finds insects and microbes, talks about how he feeds the soils around his sunflowers so they grow well, his fascination for looking for layers of soil, how soil is formed, different types of soils – sand, silt and clay – and painting with soil.
It’s not a long book at 32 pages, and the text portions are short, but it contains a huge amount of information. This is helped by the illustrations by Camille Heisler. They are excellent with detailed scientific observations. The illustrations really help guide the reader into a deeper understanding of the topic.
I recommend A Hidden World Underground for ages 4-12. Younger children will enjoy the pictures and gain a basic understanding of what soil is. Older primary readers could use this book as an introduction to soils and then read other similar titles to add to their knowledge. This is an excellent overview of the topic. It is not a textbook, but a story containing a deep understanding of soils intertwined into the text and pictures. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
CSIRO Publishing, Australia, 2017
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