Earth in 30 Seconds by Anita Ganeri

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Earth in 30 Seconds by Anita Ganeri

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Category: Children's Non-Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sam Tyler
Reviewed by Sam Tyler
Summary: Earth, the pile of mud and liquid that we all have to share. Anita Ganeri is confident that she can teach 7-11-year-olds all about it in half-minute chunks. Will she succeed in the children's non-fiction title, ‘Earth in 30 Seconds’?
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 96 Date: March 2014
Publisher: Ivy Press
ISBN: 9781782401094

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As a former cataloguer of children’s books there are names that are synonymous with juvenile non-fiction, in my time the author Anita Ganeri has graced my work table 112 times. She is a prolific author and her legacy continues in the form of ‘Earth in 30 Seconds’, part of a series of books for 7-11-year-olds that explore scientific principles in easy bite-size pieces.

Having read other books in the ’30 Seconds’ series I have found that some of the ideas are too broad to cover in such a small space, but this is not the case with ‘Earth in 30 Seconds’. Trying to wrap your head around all the concepts that make up our planet is an impossibility, but at least this subject can be whittled down to concepts that can be easily understood; weather, ecosystems, the future etc. Ganeri and consultant Dr Cherith Moses explore various Earth-centric concepts under these headings.

Water cycles, rainforests, volcanoes and many other areas are each covered over two colourful and well-illustrated pages. Because the book is relatively small for a non-fiction title, it does mean that the 30 seconds principle comes into play. The facts are mean and lean, but also surprisingly in-depth. A typical layout will have a description of what the concept is in written form on the left page and on the right-hand page; it will be shown in visual style. This is a great way of helping different types of learners, those that like to read the facts and those that like to see the facts.

The illustrations work well as they are vivid and well-marked with informative tidbits. Taking a concept as huge as a glacier and drawing it in a way that makes sense is impressive. As well as learning, there are some fun tasks included in the book. Every few pages will have a mini-experiment that a child could try out themselves. This breaks up what could otherwise seem as a fact slog.

Earth in 30 Seconds is certainly a better example of trying to cram ideas into the book equivalent of 30 seconds and for the most part, it does manage to cover concepts on the Earth. However, this should be seen more like a manual to introduce many ideas, rather than learn too much about anything individual. Perhaps ‘Earth in 30’ will inspire a child to look closer into one area, or it could meld into one large mass that fails to spark their imagination.

For more examples of this concept, have a look at Space in 30 Seconds by Clive Gifford and Dr Mike Goldsmith and Myths in 30 Seconds by Anita Ganeri. You might also appreciate Ancient Egypt in 30 Seconds: 30 Awesome Topics for Pharaoh Fanatics Explained in Half a Minute (Children's 30 Second) by Cath Senker and Melvyn Evans

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Buy Earth in 30 Seconds by Anita Ganeri at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Earth in 30 Seconds by Anita Ganeri at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Earth in 30 Seconds by Anita Ganeri at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Earth in 30 Seconds by Anita Ganeri at


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