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Discover National Monuments

By Cynthia Light Brown
Nomad Press

2456 Christian St.
White River Junction, VT 05001

Discover National Monuments is a fifteen-chapter activity book for ages 8 and up. It covers a combination of 14 National Parks and Monuments, such as Carlsbad Caverns, Dinosaur National Monument, the Grand Canyon, and Death Valley.

After the first chapter which discusses plate tectonics, a typical chapter includes the following: an introduction to the park or monument, a synopsis of its history, a vocabulary list (with the words also bolded in the accompanying text), photos, science and history blurbs, and activities. The activities are all accomplished with common household (or easily purchased) items, but they should be done with adult supervision. One of my favorites is making edible models of the earth, complete with core, mantle, and crust.

The pages are colorful and full of graphics in addition to the text. In the book you will also find a glossary, US map, resource list, and index. There are plenty of excellent descriptions of specific terminology related to volcanoes, caves, and fossils, among others.

Be aware that the worldview is very old earth as well as secular, and this type of language is used throughout the book: "Nature performed one of its most amazing magic tricks: the trees had turned from wood to stone."

I recommend this book for those who are studying geology or earth science or are planning a trip to the western or southwestern national parks or monuments featured in the book. Reading the book and doing the activities would definitely enhance your experience.

Product review by Kathy Gelzer, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC, May 2009

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