Rivers: An Incredible Journey from Source to Sea
Simon Chapman’s book is an interesting exploration of rivers in general and of six major world rivers in particular. The book is divided into three sections which mirror the course of a river (upper, middle, lower), with discussion around the various stages of the development of a river is very clearly laid out for the young reader.
Information is presented attractively. Interspersing geographical information with interesting facts from history, or from the languages of local peoples, adds to this book’s appeal. Fold-out pages illustrating six major world rivers are crammed with interesting nuggets of information spanning the many decades of each river’s life. Terminology is explained early in the book making explanations very reader-friendly.
The illustrations are very typical of the work of the artist Qu Lan. Every page is flooded with soft, attractive, pastel colours. Her animals are beautifully-drawn. The many illustrations of human activity on the river are clear and appealing.
Chapman is not afraid to introduce modern problems such as the poisoned waters of the Ganges, or the effects of the introduction of non-native species of fish to the Murray river in Australia. This helps to raise awareness in the young reader of many topical issues.
For the age group recommended, I feel that more detailed maps of the six major rivers would have been a good addition to this book and would help to place the rivers in a stronger geographical context.