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Icebergs and Glaciers
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Seymour Simon takes us on a journey to the "lands of everlasting winter" in his book Icebergs and Glaciers. To the lands of Antarctica, Alaska, Greenland and Iceland.  Simon starts out with the most basic element: the snowflake.  We learn that as the snow falls, "the weight of the snow and ice squeezes the grains of ice together, forcing out the trapped air."   This forcing out of the air is what makes the ice turn blue. 

Simon informs us that glaciers move in one of two ways: sliding or creeping.  The glacier slides with the help of melt water while creeping the glaciers moves over its own ice crystals as they form layers.  "Different parts of a glacier move at different speeds."   The more the glaciers move the more cracks, or crevasses, are created.

There are mainly three types of glaciers ranging in size from the smallest mountain glaciers and ice caps, to the largest ice sheets. "Mountain glaciers have become so thick that the mountain is almost buried, while the Antarctica ice sheet is more than fifteen thousand feet thick."  Keep in mind that only a small portion of a iceberg is visible above water.

 As the iceberg moves it constantly changes shape and it changes the shape of land underneath it as well creating valleys and rolling hills.  

Seymour Simon has included wonderful aerial photographs with they help of NASA, the U.S. Geological Survey, and U.S. Coast Guard.  These photographs and satellite images add to the understanding and depth of glaciers.  There are several pictures of ice sheets where you can really see how thick they are.  "The Antarctica ice sheet is more than fifteen thousand feet thick.  That's about the height of ten Empire State Buildings stacked one atop another."  In an aerial satellite photo of Iceland, who can actually see the hot spots were active volcanoes are and the huge white ice caps.   

The style of Simon's writing is clear and presented at a basic level. The simple vocabulary makes this book a great teaching tool for the elementary grades. Simon has used a French word "roches moutonnees," and included that it means "sheep rock."  The only big word besides Worthington in Worthington Glacier (Alaska) is temperature.  Students in grades three and up should not have problems with understand or pronunciation of the words.   

The design of the book is nice.  There is a striking picture every time you turn the page.  The font of the words is at a great level for a small group read aloud. 

The only part of this book that I would question is the accuracy, because there are no sources listed as being consulted for information about glaciers.  I have looked at other book reviews on this book and none question the accuracy.  How does Simon know that the Iceland's largest ice cap has an active volcano underneath it or that the "largest iceberg ever measured was about two hundred miles long and sixty miles wide" without having read a book or consulting a glaciologists.

Simon, Seymour.  1987.  Icebergs and Glaciers.  New York:  William Morrow and Company, Inc.  ISBN:  0688061877.

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