Thursday, March 8, 2012

Meltdown! By Fred Bortz

Meltdown! is the story of the nuclear meltdown in Japan after the earthquake and tsunami in June 2011. The subject matter begins with the earthquake and tsunami, including the Japanese warning systems. It then moves on to explain the history and science behind nuclear reactions before returning to what caused the reactors to meltdown. Fred Bortz includes what happened at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl.
While the subject matter is quite interesting, Fred Bortz’s book is not the most captivating. There is a lot of information, some that seems to be more advanced than the target age group. The excessive information coupled with the word count – it’s a lot of words in a very short book – left me less excited than I started.
The information is good information but I can’t imagine a child sitting through a reading of the book. Breaking it up and reading a chapter at a time would be best (if using this book for lessons).
I did find Fred Bortz’s language to be a little odd. Some of the wording comes across strangely. To explain is difficult but I got the impression that he was “dumbing” down the language which caused it to seem less than target age appropriate.
I did like the subject matter, I’m not sure I liked the delivery of the material. This is a great indepth look into nuclear energy and what happened in Japan last summer. I do believe the book was written a little too early since there is still information coming. Towards the end of the book there were a number of places where Fred Bortz said that we still don’t know what the end result are. While that makes the book current now, it will become dated as new information comes out.

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