Have you ever wondered what is underneath the grass you walk upon?
Have you ever scooped up some dirt and examined the life that teemed out of it?
Have you ever noticed the different colours of soil on your bushwalk or sand at beach?
Exploring soils by Dr Samantha Grover and Camille Heisler is a informative picture book that takes us on a journey through a young child’s eyes as they explore how plants and animals live in soil, how soils are formed and how they are essential in our lives.
Having two young children I have rediscovered the joy of dirt – yes really! Although it does create mess, there is so much to see inside of it. As we dig in our backyard or down in the local park we have discovered so many interesting insects, old junk and pieces of rock.
The collaboration between Grover and Heilser is remarkable. As facts are brought to life through story, the illustrations match so that we can see the layers of soil, see the tiny legs on the insects and learn how water moves through soil.
The importance of soil is shown to the reader as we learn about gardening, using clay for bowls to eat out of and even different ochres that allow us to paint.
The idea of being a soil detective is not out of reach for any young reader and in fact I found this book a great way for children to take a closer look at the soil. There really are hours of discussion to be had around soil and this book is a really great way to start that discussion. Without healthy moving soil we would not have the planet we have today!
So what can you do with this book?
- Go outside and dig a hole! Start with a small hole and see what is in that space. Write down what you see, draw what you see and compare different spaces around the backyard or park.
- Learn about the soil that is in your area and how it is different from soil in another part of our suburb or city.
- Explore why we need healthy soil by conducting an experiment. Try to grow some sunflower seeds in sand, rocky soil, old soil and fresh new living soil. Which one grows best when all given the same conditions?