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Ancient Fire Modern Fire: Understanding and Living With Our Friend & Foe Review by Jennifer King

Einar Jensen
Pixy Jack Press, Inc
(303) 810-2850
PO Box 149
Masonville, CO 80541

One of my family’s favorite things to do when the weather is just right, is to enjoy a nice bonfire in our yard in the evening. We love watching the fire dance about; watching for different colors, listening to the fire crackling. It is so simple, so beautiful and yet also so powerful and dangerous too. I was recently given the opportunity to explore fire a bit more, with the book Ancient Fire Modern Fire which helped me both understand and learn how to live with this friend and foe of ours called fire. This book is based upon a lesson plan which was designed for fourth graders.

The author of this book, Einar Jensen is an environmental historian, firefighter and community educator who wrote this to help us better understand the history of fire. He shares with us twenty-nine myths about the origins of fire. He talks about man’s estranged relationship with fire and a need to know the fundamentals of fire science. This is where we learn about different types of fire, the chemistry of fire and tricks related to the firefighting profession.

He also goes into great depth in regard to youth and fire; there are family and child risk surveys in the appendix as well to gauge the need for intervention should children in your home have an unhealthy interest in fire. This also covers some basic child development stages to help us understand our children in their various needs. This also covers introduces the dark side of fire. Where we learn about historical destruction caused by fire. There is also covered the side of fire which is a tool for creation. Certainly fire is far more complex than we may truly acknowledge.

As we read we learn not just about the historical aspects of fire, but also the various ways it is used.  The rules and the rites, and the sacred fire spoken of in the Bible and other faiths/cultures. There are quite a bit of references to Native American beliefs and traditions which involve fire which make this an interesting tool to use in studying this group of peoples. There is also quite a bit of detail in regard to fire and the Islamic faith allowing for another opportunity for study.

There are quite a few resources listed in the back of this book also to help you explore and learn further. From fire prevention, to wildfires and fire safety this offers a wide range of information to further explore the history of fire; to understand various cultural views and uses of fire throughout time and to ensure that your family is educated about what is a beautiful yet also dangerous thing. Without a doubt knowledge is power; and with this wisdom we are able to be both responsible as we use this in our lives.

-Product review by Jennifer King, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, May, 2017