Sunday, February 6, 2011

Book Review: Stone Wall Secrets

Stone Wall Secrets
By: Kristine and Robert Thorson and Gustav Moore
Published by:  Tilbury House Publishers, 1998
ISBN: 978-0-88448-229-1
Price: $7.95
Ages 8-12
Rating:  4 stars
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker

Of what possible use could a bunch of old stone walls on a farm be to a young person today?  Adam’s grandfather lives on a New England farm with many old stone walls.  A mason wants to buy all the stones for buildings in the city, and Grandpa wonders what Adam thinks about it.  At first, Adam suggests that Grandpa should just get rid of them and make some money.  But Grandpa says that it’s not so simple.  As the two walk along the walls, Grandpa tells Adam how the stone began as sediment from an ancient ocean, then was thrust up as mountains when continents collided, and was scraped and carried by scouring glaciers.

Then Grandpa reminds Adam how PaleoIndians used the stones for hunting mammoths, how the settlers dug them out of the ground to build the walls, and finally how he himself and his sister played on them when they were children.  Co-author Robert Thorson is a professor of geology at the University of Connecticut in Storrs.   Along with Adam, the reader learns how fascinating geology can be, but in addition this charming story also shows a positive family dynamic between different generations.  Also, it is said that Adam was adopted, and as the father of two adopted sons I always appreciate books for young people that portray adopted children in typical family relationships.  It was quite an enjoyable read.  An accompanying teacher’s guide by Ruth Deike is also available and can be used to explore geology in the classroom.

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