Friday, October 21, 2022

You can Make a Mountain!

How to Make a Mountain: in Just 9 Simple Steps and Only 100 Million Years! 
by Amy Huntington; illus. by Nancy Lemon 
68 pages; ages 5-8
‎Chronicle Books, 2022

theme: mountains, geology, biodiversity

Let’s make a mountain, a big one with steep cliffs, boulders, streams, and waterfalls.

It’s a big job, but you’re up to it, right? First, we need a rock. Not that one – a bigger one. No, REALLY BIG! And we need some wind and rain, some freezing temperatures, maybe a glacier, then some warming… but most of all we need time. Lots of time. And snacks. You did pack snacks, right? Because we’re going to be here for a while.

What I like about this book: This is such a fun introduction to geomorphology, the study of landforms and landform evolution. Mountain-building certainly falls into that category. I like how Amy Huntington divides her book into nine easy steps, beginning with “crash and crumple” – a great way to describe tectonic plates colliding. There are a number of steps that contribute to weathering the rock and creating soil. Which is a slow process, so she suggests that readers “brainstorm a list of plants” they want on their mountain. 

After adding plants and animals, you might think the job is done. But no, there is one last step: Care. I love that Amy added that last step. Because, although mountains are low-maintenance, they need help keeping the streams clear and the trees healthy.

And then there is back matter! If you’ve made a very tall mountain, you might have alpine meadows. Or maybe you want to add some hiking trails and, if you’ve ever hiked Straight. Up. A. Mountain you know that there are probably better ways to make paths for people to walk. She suggests artistic touches, such as striations, ponds, and vernal pools. Definitely a handy guide for any kid heading out to make mountains out of … well, whatever.

Beyond the Books:

Visit a mountain, preferably one with a trail you can walk up. Most geologists classify a mountain as a landform that rises at least 1,000 feet (300 meters) or more above its surrounding area, so it doesn’t have to be very tall! 
  • When you get there, draw a picture of what your mountain looks like. 
  • If it doesn’t have a name, give it one. 
  • What sort of plants do you see at the bottom of your mountain? 
  • What kinds of animals do you see or hear? 
  • What does the air feel like? 
  • When you get to the top, look at the plants and animals. Do you notice any differences?
  • Make a map to show where your mountain is (in case a friend wants to visit it).
Make some mountains. All you need are three towels of different colors, and a friend. Here’s a video about how to do it.

Today we're joining Perfect Picture Book Friday, an event where bloggers share great picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's website. Review copy provided by the publisher.

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