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The Glaciers Are Melting Review by April Elstrom

By Donna Love
Sylvan Dell Publishing
612 Johnnie Dodds, Suite A2
Mount Pleasant, SC 29464

"The glaciers are melting! The glaciers are melting!" No, the sky isn't falling in this book, but the animals are concerned that the glaciers are melting and putting their homes at risk. The Glaciers Are Melting, by Donna Love, is a children's picture book that borrows its premise from the story of Chicken Little. The glaciers are melting, and the animals are trying to reach the Mountain Monarch to find out what they can do.

The story follows the Chicken Little storyline fairly well, with Peter Pika meeting animal after animal on his journey to find the Mountain Monarch. Each animal joins him after learning of his message, and they are almost tricked by Wiley Wolverine when the Mountain Monarch shows up to protect them. The illustrations by Shennen Bersani are the best part of this book. She uses a mixed media approach, which blends paint, colored pencils, and crayons together to make very detailed illustrations. The animals are charmingly realistic, and the mountain scenery is beautiful. Both children and parents will enjoy the illustrations as they read this book.

The Glaciers Are Melting concludes with six educational pages that cover a variety of topics in the activities. There is general information about glaciers as well as information regarding the changes in their size over the years. Children can also learn about where glaciers are located, which continents have glaciers and which do not, and what they can do to help the environment. Two pages teach about the different mountain animals that appear in this story and how they are adapted for life in their habitat.

The educational section concludes with questions to help children understand the moral of the story. The moral of the story is that global warming is causing the glaciers to melt, which will have a negative impact on the animals and the entire world. The Mountain Monarch explains to the animals that they can't do anything to help themselves. They can only hope that the children who read this book will learn from it and take steps to protect the animals and the environment. This is an ecological activism book that does play on the emotions of the reader. The book is designed to arouse a sense of urgency in caring for the environment and protecting the cute animals introduced in the story.

Parents who want their children to learn about ecology and ways that they can help protect the environment will enjoy this charming story and its lesson. The activity pages at the back are useful learning tools to help children understand the importance of caring for the world they live in. On the other hand, parents who doubt the existence of global warming and resent alarmist reactions will not appreciate the message or the tactics of this book. The Glaciers Are Melting does provide families with a good foundation for discussing their beliefs about the earth and environmentalism.

Personally, I like the book. I like the way the story is presented, and I love the illustrations. The one thing I dislike is the last manipulative tactic that uses emotion to inspire action on the final page. Although I don't agree with many interpretations of the global warming theory, this book presents it in a tolerable way. It does not promote an extremist viewpoint, and the educational pages stick with fact rather than supposition (though young earth creationists will dispute the reference to glacier sizes 20,000 years ago). The "What Can We Do?" section includes helpful information about reducing energy use and protecting the environment that aligns with what I teach my own children.

The Glaciers Are Melting is not a book that I can whole-heartedly endorse, but it is one that I can cautiously recommend. This is not a book to blindly hand to your children to read for themselves, but rather, it is a book to read together and then discuss in light of your family's beliefs and actions. I am sure that every family could benefit from the discussion this book would inspire.

Product review by April Elstrom, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, August 2011