World Waterfall Database
Book Review

The Extreme Earth: Waterfalls

Corrigan, Patricia (author)

Chelsea House Publishers, 2007
Edition 1
Format Hard Cover
Print Style Partial Color
Book Type Childrens
Page Count 146
ISBN 978-0-8160-6436-6
In Print? Yes
Picture quality (3)
Picture Quantity (1)
Accuracy of Content (3)
Thoroughness of Content (1)
Production Value (4)

Reviewed by

"The Extreme Earth: Waterfalls" is one in a series of reference books targeted to the middle-school demographic meant to help outline certain geologic features and formations found on the planet. This volume specifically targets waterfalls, featuring 10 chapters each outlining one specific waterfall which author Patricia Corrigan selected in attempt to show the varying conditions in which waterfalls form or unique geologic conditions that exist around or because of a waterfall.

Considering the demographic this book is targeted to, I didn't expect it to be very in depth, however I was rather impressed with the amount of work the author put into her research. The information presented is certainly much more accurate than I would have suspected for a book of this type, though it isn't without its fault. In the Introduction the author rightly acknowledges the discrepancies in measurement of waterfalls, the fact that there is no universally accepted method of cataloging and classifying waterfalls and the frequent dissemination of inaccurate information regarding dimensions of waterfalls. However she then immediately states that her source for height figures for the book comes from The Encyclopaedia Brittanica, which we know to contain extremely outdated and inaccurate information.

The author allocates between 9 and 15 pages per waterfall-chapter and fills them with largely relevant information, but the biggest disappointment about this book is that considering there are so many pages specifically dedicated to a single waterfall, the waterfall itself is generally only discussed for no more than half of a page. The rest is filled with details relating to surrounding geologic features (which is acceptably legit for a book of this nature), but stretches to thinly connected topics such as impacts of air pollution around waterfalls, the socio-economic climate in one case, and even in the chapter talking about Hawaii's Kahiwa Falls discussing what was originally a Leper Colony on a nearby peninsula. It seems to me that for a book so specifically targetted to geology the paper could have been more efficiently utilized.

The production quality of the book is good. The pages are laid out in an easy to understand format that looks professional and the print quality is good. The hard cover holds up well and though the cover itself is a little boring, its pretty self explanitory what the book is about. More pictures would have been nice, since the attention span of the demographic this book was designed for will likely be shorter when presented with large amounts of text, but it works as it was designed.

This really isn't a book for waterfall hunters, more like a classroom resource, and for that it functions as a good tool (as long as it isn't used as the sole tool) for teaching about waterfalls. Individuals probably won't be interested in this one unless you can get a used copy for cheap or you collect books on the topic.

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