Depalma, Kate. A Rainbow of Rocks. Cambridge, Mass.: Barefoot Books, 2020. 24 pp. $16.99.
A rainbow of rocks—from ruby to amethyst and beyond! Eye-popping close-up photos of real, vibrant rocks and minerals in a rainbow of colors are brought to life by lyrical, rhyming text about the many facets of geology. Includes educational notes perfect for STEM learning.
(From the publisher)
There are two main sections to this children’s book. The first section takes your child page by page and displays a picture of a rock with a little text about the rock on each page. The photos are brilliant, and the name of the rock is highlighted in the same color as the rock. The color scheme is really neat. Each set of two pages has similarly colored rocks. By the end, you’ve looked at 16 different rocks of several different hues.
The sentences are short and easy for a little one to follow along with, but they’ll need a parent or older sibling to read it to them because the words aren’t introductory. But even before a child can read, being read to and then looking at a book over and over on their own will help them, and these pictures will bring kids back to this book.
The second section of the book has 12 questions with answers to teach children about rocks—how they form, what they are made of, etc. This section also has aesthetic pictures and would be more appropriate for children over 7. For my family, my 3-year-old will sit through the first section, and I’m hoping that soon my 6-year-old will listen to the second section more intently. This isn’t a storybook, which little kids are usually used to. This is a non-fiction guide to rocks, so patience with your child, if they are less interested than some other books, will be your greatest asset.
I was surprised and pleased to read this book for children and find nothing but facts about rocks! There was no hint of millions of years to form rocks (which we know empirically is not required), nor any reference to a Big Bang or other fairy tales like that. The author simply presented facts about rocks with excellent pictures in an enjoyable layout. I think this book could be an asset to any family and especially for homeschoolers.
Since I reviewed an electronic copy, I cannot comment on the physical quality of the book, but if you are intending to get this book for a toddler, well, I suggest you don’t let them “play with it” unsupervised. Books fall apart quickly in their hands, and you’ll want the book to last for when they are school age.
But I wonder if this really should have been two books. The two sections appeal to different audiences, and the first section may have been better as a board book. The number of pages will make this book well worth 16.99, but if your toddler destroys it before they are ready for part two, or if you buy it for an elementary-aged child who isn’t fascinated by the first section, you may feel like you paid more than it was worth to you.
Have said that, I DO recommend this book, and hope to see more of this publisher’s and this author’s offerings.