Life on Surtsey: Iceland’s Upstart Island

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This Scientists in the Field book is about an island off the coast of Iceland, created by a volcano in 1963. Many new islands are reclaimed by the ocean, but Surtsey still exists today. Only scientists have been allowed to visit, and they have been able to study how a newly formed island becomes inhabited over time.

This book follows an entomologist, Erling, who was one of the first to study the island and who has returned to the island several times to continue his research.

I am a huge fan of Scientists in the Field books. They go in-depth to a level where I feel like I am there in the action, dodging lava bombs on the first island visit, finding the first chicks born in a rocky crevice, sludging through the rain to set insect traps, and visiting the spit to “go more than pee.”

This is a great book to learn about entomology research methods, the formation of islands, and Iceland. Tender-hearted kids may not enjoy reading about how the insects are trapped and preserved. (This issue is addressed by the author.) The photographs throughout the book are very informative and transport the reader to Surtsey. I highly recommend this book for kids, and adults too, who are interested in volcanoes, plants, animals, and science.

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Star Count 5/5
Format Hard
Page Count 80 pages
Publisher HMH Books for Young Readers
Publish Date 2017-Nov-14
ISBN 9780544687233 Buy this Book
Issue December 2017
Category Children's


  1. Patricia Wolski

    Another superb book by Ms. Burns!

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