Biomass: Fueling Change


32 pages
Contains Photos, Illustrations, Index
ISBN 978-0-7787-2928-0
DDC j333.95'39





Reviewed by Sandy Campbell

Sandy Campbell is a reference librarian in the Science and Technology Library at the University of Alberta.


True to the Crabtree formula, this first volume in its new Energy Revolution series has lots of bright, high-quality images, surrounded by text appropriate for upper-elementary readers. But unlike most Crabtree publications, the text is disappointing, mainly because Walker makes sweeping statements that are only partially correct. One, for example, is when she says “most power plants produce electricity by burning coal.” In Canada, only about 20 percent of electricity is produced from thermal plants.

In the chapter “Energy Problems,” Walker says “Acid rain is created when raindrops absorb a toxic gas called sulfur dioxide, in the air before falling. Sulfur dioxide damages buildings and forests and kills wildlife.” Apart from the awkwardly constructed first sentence, it is not sulfur dioxide that does the damage, but weak sulfuric acid, created through the combination of the sulfur dioxide and water.

In the drawbacks of using methanol as a fuel, Walker writes, “Methanol is toxic and pollutes water when it leaks or spills. Methanol is also mixed with gasoline to fuel regular vehicles.” The concluding statement is not related to drawbacks—it is actually a positive point.

Walker has successfully authored children’s books on subjects ranging from the Anishinabe to hockey to coral reefs. Perhaps having an expert in the fieldreview the text would have brought this work up to Crabtree’s usual standard. Not a first-choice purchase.


Walker, Niki, “Biomass: Fueling Change,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 14, 2024,