If you’re looking for a simple, inexpensive book to introduce geology to young readers, Geology (Let’s Explore Science) by Tim Clifford is a quite decent choice. It was like the freshest summer breeze after the two duds I’d read before it, for sure.
It packs a lot of information into its short length! Readers are introduced to geology, the earth’s layers, and soil, which is a subject I haven’t seen covered in other earth science books for kids. Soil scientists will love that! Then the book explores plate tectonics, rock types, how land forms, the rock cycle, fossils, and the age of the earth. (No worries on that last bit: there’s not a young earth creationist in sight.)
The photos are absolutely breathtaking and do a great job showing what the author is describing. There’s an especially good one that shows a selection of sedimentary layers that includes a mouthwatering bed of river cobbles. That photo alone justifies the purchase price! It’s suitable for framing.
Like with any children’s book, topics are simplified, sometimes to the point of inaccuracy (the rock cycle description implies metamorphic rocks melt to become igneous rocks only, rather than sometimes being uplifted and eroded to form sedimentary rock). But overall, the information is accurate and well-presented in a way that won’t leave kids confused.
The most glaring flaw is when the author claims coal is a mineral. This is the only time a mistake was that groan-worthy, though, and it’s less egregious than saying pumice forms in water, so I’ll forgive it.
You’ll want to have some tape handy, as the binding won’t hold up to rough treatment. It’s worth the extra effort, since it’s much better written and more factual than other books in its category. This is one you can feel good about giving to the young proto-geologist in your life.