A Rainbow of Rocks (Review)
Updated: Nov 13
Interest Level: Ages 3 - 7
Author: Kate DePalma
Publisher: Barefoot Books, 2020
Reading Level: N/A
Retail: $16.99, Hardcover; $7.99, Paperback
Summary: This is not a traditional color book. Instead it uses photos of real rocks and minerals and rhyming text to present a spectrum of eye-popping spreads introducing children to different mineral properties such as hardness, texture, shape and transparency. Endnotes expand on the concepts with kid-friendly language.
I live in Tucson where we have one of the world's largest gem and mineral shows. Most of us make a yearly pilgrimage to at least one of the mini-shows in a hotel or tent arena. I see children's eyes open wide as they look at all of the trays and pedestals of raw and cut specimens. What better way to teach children about the earth than to begin with geology?
A Rainbow of Rocks is notable because it uses a familiar rhyming format to introduce some fairly sophisticated concepts to young children without feeling overly technical. You won't find the terms, sedimentary, igneous, or metamorphic in this book. Instead, the endnotes briefly describe formation processes, but don't focus on them. The methods of classification introduced in this book are easy for children to grasp. Is this rock shiny? How bright is the color? What does it feel like? These are all questions they can ask when finding a pebble or interesting stone on a walk.
This book makes a compelling read-aloud for preschool through early elementary, and the illustrations command attention. It can stand alone as a story time selection or be used to introduce a hands-on learning unit about rocks and earth science. The youngest children can sort by color, shininess and surface texture. Older students can test hardness and evaluate intensity of hue, formation shape, and transparency. Independent readers can also use the mineral names and pictures to identify unknown specimens in a class collection. If you are looking for ways to lay the foundation for a strong interest in science, this book is a great place to start.