Some good reviews have come in already, which is always a plus!
Erg, a cartoon energy-bolt, narrates this electrifying introduction to the basics of energy. A spread is devoted to each of the many types of energy, how they are harnessed, their uses and their pros and cons: Fossil fuels, nuclear, solar, wind, water, geothermal and plant-based energy are all discussed. Leedy presents difficult concepts in a way that even younger readers can understand, encapsulating the key essentials and leaving the complex details for older readers’ texts. Additional pages explain the generation of electricity, address the problem of global warming and educate readers about how they can help save energy. Throughout, the watercolor-and-digital artwork cleverly illustrates the concepts presented in the text with cartoons, diagrams and sketches. The author’s whimsical anthropomorphized electrical outlets and devices keep readers’ attention and provide further information. Backmatter includes more energy facts and ways to save energy as well as additional cons against fossil-fuel usage. What Anne Rockwell and Paul Meisel’s What’s So Bad About Gasoline? (2009) did for fossil fuels, this book does for energy as a whole. (Informational picture book. 5-8)
An imaginary bolt of pure energy appropriately named Erg introduces energy basics: its varied forms, the principle that it can be changed but not destroyed, how we get and use the power of fossil fuels, good and bad news about old and new power sources, and the importance of conserving energy to save the earth. The author begins with the role of food in human bodies, a sure way to draw young readers in. The exercise of imagining human muscles pushing a car easily explains our use of other power sources. Leedy’s experience selecting facts that are most relevant and engaging for young readers is evident, and the information is eminently digestible. The design moves from energetic to near-frenetic. Her brightly colored mixed-media illustrations are filled with animated appliances, bursts of information, and decorated fonts. Three final pages of sensible suggestions for energy saving are followed by three more pages of helpful supplemental information and suggested Web sites, including a source for science fair projects.
— Kathleen Isaacs