Figuring Out Fossils Sally M. Walker
Lerner Publishing Group
Figuring out Fossils targets older elementary or lower middle school youth since the definitions, while simple, approach a basic understanding of the topic. The book covers what fossils are, how they form, what they are composed of, where they are found, and why we study them.
The book discusses what kinds of things become fossils, including tracks and hard parts of organisms while the softer parts decay or are consumed. Creatures that become fossils are buried under sediment, sunken into tar pits, or more perfectly sealed in ice where even soft parts remain. The book covers how sediment becomes rock, making them difficult to find.
Ground water flows through holes in bones and plants and deposits mineral. Even if the original bones dissolve, the minerals remain. Molds and casts are explained as well. To transport fragile fossils paleontologists wrap them in wet cloth and plaster. Fossils suggest an organism’s size, diet, movement, and their climate. The book closes with an index, glossary, and further reading (websites and books).
While most explanations were perfectly adequate, most impressive were how fossils formed, with four-step illustrations demonstrating. Although I have taught the subject before, I had not seen it done so clearly. Captions and photos help reinforce what the reader learns. This book comes highly recommended.