If fire were a person, you could say he had an “image problem.” After all, we usually hear about fire on the news as a destructive force, something causing property damage and occasionally killing people. Among school-age children, fire is often the subject of safety presentations full of dire warnings about how harmful it can be.
In 50 Burning Questions, Vancouver author Tanya Lloyd Kyi looks at fire in a completely different way. She chronicles humanity’s history of using fire, starting about 1.5 million years ago and continuing to the present day, and examines how we’ve used it to cook meat, light our way in the dark, and keep us warm.
As well, Kyi takes an entertaining and fact-filled look at fire’s role in mythology and religion – how we’ve harnessed the power of fire for work and communication, and how we’ve used the metaphor of fire to express our emotions. She also examines historical strategies for extinguishing fire, and the natural sources of fire – like lightning and volcanoes – all around us. Throughout the book, easily executed activities provide real-life examples of the various aspects of fire discussed in the text.
In addition to Kyi’s engaging writing, 50 Burning Questions features brilliant illustrations from veteran New Zealand illustrator Ross Kinnaird, who emphasizes the major points with hilarious, comics-style drawings. In all, this is a book that will be very well received by young readers seeking a light-hearted and information-packed look at a fascinating subject.
Author Tanya Lloyd Kyi is matchless when it comes to teaching kids about fire, its uses and its abuses. (Cape Cod Times 2010-08-22)
In many ways the history of fire is a history of everything, as this cheeky book explains in scattershot, browsable chunks. Broken up into loose chapters, the questions cover how integral fire has been to nearly the entirety of human endeavor, from technology to religion to food to communication. Cleverly, the book even gets into the abstractions of fiery emotions, sparks of social protest, and fire's explosive place at the heart of conflict and war... On each spread, cartoon illustrations work to keep the tone light and a handful of activities reinforce some basic science concepts. All in all, a fun and informative book for anyone fascinated by fire, which means pretty much everyone. (Ian Chipman Booklist 2010-12-01)
(A) lighthearted, informative look at a fascinating subject...Accessibly written and appealingly designed. (Kirkus Reviews 2010-08-15)
OLA Best Bets for Children 2010. Entertaining headings ("Who was the first hairy potter?") and brightly-coloured pages with wacky illustrations introduce the reader to the subject of fire. Well-researched (there's a bibliography) with a wealth of interesting detail, this book is fun and informative. Chapters include both scientific and social aspects of fire in a question and answer format. ((Best Bets for Children 2010) Ontario Library Asso 2010-02-05)
A fun and informative book for anyone fascinated by fire, which means pretty much everyone. (Booklist 2010-12-00)