Burn: The Life Story of Fire by Tanya Lloyd Kyi

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Stars: ****

I received this book for review from Annick Press. I also read it for the Planet Earth 2008 Challenge.

“Burn explores the potent and dynamic role of fire over the course of human history, from facilitating communication, as a powerful agent in the natural world, to its use as an instrument of war.”

This book is marketed for young readers ages 10-12 but I wouldn’t recommend it for the under 12’s as it talks about death, natural disasters, war, guns and other sensitive issues. In fact the first two paragraphs of the whole book talk about a very sad and upsetting disaster that had ME upset so I’d be careful with sensitive kids.

The book is very interesting and has lots of interesting information and facts but I do think it could have been organized a little better. I like to know what a chapter is about by it’s chapter name and often I couldn’t tell. I do give credit for creative chapter names but perhaps they could have added a smaller subtitle explaining it more. For example, chapter 1 is called Fanning the Flames. Perhaps they could have made it Fanning the Flames: How We Learned To Make and Use Fire.

The chapters are as follows (with my explanation of what’s in the chapter in brackets:) The First Sparks (Introduction with a story and explanation of how fire fighters determine the cause of a fire), Fanning the Flames(how we learned to make and use fire), Burnings and Blessings(Fire in Religion and people who can walk on or through fire without getting hurt), Furnace and Forge(Using fire in making things such as pottery and steam engines), Where There’s Smoke…( fire signals including light houses), All Fired Up(Emotions and Protests), Ready, Aim, Fire!(War and Weapons), A Fiery Planet(Natural Disasters such as Volcanoes and Lightning) and Reborn in the Ashes(How fire can also make new life).

As I said, the subject matter is very interesting and I’m glad I got to read this book I just think the Chapters should have had subtitles and although I can’t pinpoint exactly how the text could be organized better, I found my mind wandering a few times.

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About Kathleen

I've been a nonfiction lover for as long as I can remember. I love children's nonfiction as well and love to share my knowledge and the books I gained them from, with the world. I wish more people would give nonfiction a chance.