Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Weather Book by Michael Oard

book cover

The Weather Book
by Michael Oard

ISBN-13: 9780890512111
Hardback: 80 pages
Publisher: Master Books
Released: 1997, 2006

Source: Bought from a local Christian bookstore.

Book Description from Back Cover:
The earth was created to be the dwelling place of man. It is a complex world and its weather patterns affect our lives every day. Whether you live near the equator, a polar region, or somewhere in between, knowledge of the weather is important.

The Weather Book will teach you:

  • Why our exact distance from the sun allows life on earth.
  • How the weather on the other side of the earth affects you.
  • How clouds form and how to identify the different types.
  • What the difference is between a cold and warm front.
  • Why you can often see lighting long before you can hear thunder.
  • How to build your own weather station.
  • How to survive in dangerous weather.
  • What the greenhouse effect and the ozone hole are.
  • What Noah's flood and the Ice Age have in common.
  • How weatherpersons forecast hurricanes and tornadoes.
  • How to read a weather map.
  • What our responsibility is to the environment.

Learning about the weather is fun! It will change the way you look at the clouds in the sky. You'll have more of an understanding about what is going on miles above your head. And when you hear a weather report on television, you'll understand so much more about the world around you!

About the Author:
Michael Oard was a meteorologist with the National Weather Frozen in Time Service beginning in 1973 and lead forecaster in Great Falls, Montana.

My Review:
The Weather Book is a nonfiction book about various types of weather and what causes that weather to occur. The author assumed that he had a Christian audience and spoke frequently in terms of "God created." He clearly explained each topic and defined the few scientific terms in the text (though there's also a glossary in the back). I think 11-year-olds on up can easily understand the information in this book.

There were full color pictures and illustrations. In the back, there's a 12 by 24 inch pull-out full-color poster with pictures from the book. Overall, I'd recommend this book to children and adults who are interested in learning more about the weather and the forces that cause the weather.

Chapter 1 explained how the earth shows special design by God. Chapter 2 talked about climate zones, what causes weather, weather trivia (hottest, wettest, etc.), how to read a weather map (like those printed in a newspaper), the jet stream, and El Nino. Chapter 3 explained the water cycle, cloud types, the elevation of those clouds, warm fronts, cold fronts, fog, and the dew point.

Chapter 4 talked about thunderstorms and lightening. Chapter 5 talked about hail and wind damage. Chapter 6 talked about hurricanes. Chapter 7 talked about winter storms. Chapter 8 talked about St. Elmo's Fire, Foehn winds, the lake effect, and ball lightening.

Chapter 9 talked about the clues to the earth's climate in the past--including the ice age--and how Noah's Flood explains the Ice Age better than secular explanations. Chapter 10 talked about the climate in the future, including global warming and the ozone layer. Chapter 11 talked about various weather instruments (thermometers, weather balloon, cloud photography, etc.) as well as how a child can make a weather vane, barometer, rain gauge, and do a condensation experiment. Chapter 12 talked about how Christians ought to relate to the environment.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt from Chapter One
God used His infinite wisdom to create this earth. From the smallest to the largest feature of creation, He displays His intelligence, love, and careful attention to detail.

God placed the moon 240,000 miles (384,000 km) away from the earth--exactly the right distance to cause small tides in the ocean. If the moon were a little closer, it would cause severe tides and flooding. If it were only 50,000 miles (80,000 km) away instead of 240,000 miles, the tides would cover most of the continents twice a day. If the moon were farther away, much of the ocean would become heavily polluted. Tides mix the ocean water. The mixing helps to keep the oceans fresh by exposing more of the water to sunlight and by dispersing pollution. The amount of water in the ocean is important as well, because the oceans are large enough to dilute pollution.

Did you know that the sun is 400 times the size of the moon, and its distance is 400 times the distance of the moon from the earth? That is why the sun and moon, the greater and lesser lights of Genesis 1:16, look the same size in the sky.

The earth spins on its axis at just the right speed--once around every day. If it spun slower, the light side would be too hot for life and the dark side would be too cold. If the earth spun any faster it would cause fierce winds to blow.

If the earth's tilt were smaller, the higher latitudes would be too cold and an ice age would develop. If the tilt were greater, surface temperatures would fluctuate wildly, more so than today, making the climate more unstable. The tilt gives us our summer growing season. God has provided a time for us to grow our food everywhere on earth, except for the North and South Poles.

God placed just the right amount of water vapor and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Our ocean is the right size to maintain the proper balance of water vapor in the atmosphere. These gases cause the earth to act like a giant greenhouse. If there were much less of these gases, the earth would be too cold.

Take a look inside the book.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Crocheting in Plain English by Maggie Righetti

book cover

Crocheting in Plain English, Second Edition
by Maggie Righetti

ISBN-13: 9780312353544
Trade Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Released: Dec. 2008

Source: Borrowed from the library.

Book Description from Back Cover:
The definitive classic on crocheting for years, the first edition of Crocheting in Plain English equipped readers with easy-to-follow, friendly advice on creating their dream crochets. A lifelong crocheting teacher and designer, Maggie Righetti offered both basic principles and step-by-step instructions to get crocheters started and to perfect their techniques.

In this latest edition, completely updated and revised for today’s crocheter, Righetti dispenses more of her invaluable wisdom, covering virtually everything you need to know about crochet, including:

* Selecting threads and yarns
* Determining gauge
* Working with the right tools
* How to interpret patterns and instructions
* Increasing and decreasing stitches
* How to fix mistakes
* Basic stitches (chain, double, treble, slip)
* Sixteen different fabric pattern stitches
* Assembling the finished product
* How to block, clean, and care for crocheted articles
* And much, much more!

Each technique is illustrated with clear drawings, charts, or photos. Complete with a new introduction and a detailed glossary of crochet terms, Crocheting in Plain English is one sourcebook no crocheter should do without.

My Review:
Crocheting in Plain English gives in-depth instruction on how to crochet. The author assumes you're an absolute beginner, but this book is also useful for beginners in general and people who have taught themselves to crochet.

Actually, this book almost has too much information for the absolute beginner. When I read the first few chapters, I had never bought yarn or any of the equipment. I was hoping to save time and money by getting it right the first time. I was almost overwhelmed by the depth of information she gave. Yet she sometimes didn't give enough information when I really wanted more (like she said she found one general type of hook better than another, but she didn't really say why). After working with several types of yarns and hooks, I understood that whole section, but it wasn't clear until then. And I did end up having to buy another set of hooks (Susan Bates hooks) to replace the Boye hooks I'd initially bought.

I also found it a bit ironic that she (very poetically) stated that you must hold the hook and yarn in a certain way--and I already knew from watching a few YouTube videos that not everyone did it that way--yet later, when teaching stitches, she was very "do whatever works for you" in attitude.

Overall, though, I found this book to be very useful and instructive. I think it's main strengths are teaching you to read patterns, teaching you to understand how various "fancy stitches" are put together so you can "mix and match" to make your own, and helping you understand how to create your own project patterns. I had problems figuring out three of the non-basic stitches (due to either a poor illustration, an error in the pattern diagram, or her using a term that she usually used to mean something else), but I did eventually figure them all out.

The book covered:
Chapter 1 - The history of crochet.

Chapter 2 - Being honest with yourself when picking projects.

Chapter 3 - Choosing threads and yarns (sizing, quality, finishes, and color & dye lot).

Chapter 4 - Choosing crochet hooks (parts of, shapes, material made of, and sizes).

Chapter 5 - How to determine gauge for a printed-instruction project.

Chapter 6 - Introduction to reading patterns.

Chapter 7 - Other supplies (bag, scissors, yarn needles, tape measure, ring markers, etc.).

Chapter 8 - Basics: how to hold the hook, make a slip loop, and crochet left- or right-handed.

Chapter 9 - Chain Stitch (how to do it and the pattern abbreviation)

Chapter 10 - Single Crochet Stitch (American) (how to do it, what it's good for, and the pattern abbreviation)

Chapter 11 - Half-Double Crochet Stitch

Chapter 12 - Double Crochet Stitch

Chapter 13 - Treble Crochet Stitch & longer stitches

Chapter 14 - Slip Stitch

Chapter 15 - Several ways to add new yarn/change colors.

Chapter 16 - Increasing (several methods)

Chapter 17 - Decreasing (several methods), Puff Stitch

Chapter 18 - You don't have to work through both loops, you don't have to put your hook in the next stitch, and several other variations. Making a circle. Crab stitch. Crossed stitches. Picots. Popcorn stitch.

Chapter 19 - How to improvise and invent.

Chapter 20 - Several ways to fix mistakes.

Chapter 21 - Fancy stitches: mesh fabrics, filet crochet, open V, simple double crochet shells (2 ways), combining a shell and V (2 ways), ripple afghan stitch, fishnet, arch stitch, herringbone, diagonal popcorns, lover's knots, spiderweb, up-and-down stitch, my lady's fan, and Queen Anne's lace.

Chapter 22 - Making medallions and Motifs: Black-Eyed Susans, Granny Squares, Spiral Pinwheel Hexagon, Irish Rose Square with Picots, Pineapple in Square, and circular flower motif.

Chapter 23 - How to add lace edgings to linens. Edging patterns: picoted double crochet shells, morning sunrise, handmade rickrack, lovely lace, festive fans, pineapples, and violets.

Chapter 24 - Crocheted decorations: cabbage rose, pansy, double daisy, chrysanthemum, 5-point star, 4-leafed clover, and butterfly.

Chapter 25 - How to do multicolor jacquard crochet patterns. Patterns: balloons, never-ending triangles, and plaids.

Chapter 26 - Several methods of joining several-piece projects together.

Chapter 27 - Decorative finishing touches: how to make fringe, tassels, pom-poms, twisted monk's cord, crocheted cord, and yarn buttons (round or flat).

Chapter 28 - How to store and wash crocheted objects.

Chapter 29 - Project: Sampler Scarf

Chapter 30 - Project: Easiest Sweater

Chapter 31 - Projects: Table/Tray Mat, Treble Crocheted Striped Afghan, Raglan Baby Sweater, and Baby Bonnet.

Glossary, Common Symbols chart, Suggested Websites, Index

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Elizabethan Sea Dogs by William Wood

book cover

Elizabethan Sea Dogs
by William Wood

Hardback: 260 pages
Publisher: Yale University Press
Released: 1918

Source: Bought at library book sale.

Book Description, my take:
Written in 1918 and a part of the Yale Chronicles of America series, this book takes a look at the development of England's navy from King Henry VIII to the death of Queen Elizabeth, notable seamen during this time, and England's attempts to colonize North America up until 1618.

Elizabethan Sea Dogs is a history of how England's fleet went from insignificant to ruling the seas and their activities in the New World from King Henry VIII's reign to the end of Queen Elizabeth's reign. The book contained some quotes from various sea journals of the explorers and quotes from some sea songs. Overall, the book was easy to read and fairly interesting. I'd recommend the recent re-release of this "classic" to those who enjoy reading about the English navy.

Chapter 1 talked about the voyages of exploration of John Cabot and his family. Chapter 2 talked about how King Henry VIII strengthened England's naval power. Chapter 3 talked about William Hawkins (1530) and the life of a sailor at that time. Chapter 4 talked about what life was like under Queen Elizabeth (mainly the political, economic, and business practices). Chapter 5 talked about John Hawkins three voyages from 1562-1567.

Chapter 6 talked about Francis Drake's treasure hunt (1564-1573). Chapter 7 talked about Francis Drake's sailing completely around the world (1577-1581). Chapter 8 talked about Francis Drake's sailing to New Spain to damage and plunder Spain's towns there (1582-1587). Chapter 9 talked about Francis Drake, etc., against the Spanish Armada (1588). Chapter 10 talked about Francis Drake's Lisbon Expedition (1589) and Richard Grenville's famous "the one and the fifty-three" battle (1591).

Chapter 11 talked about Sir Walter Raleigh and England's various attempts to colonize North America (1577-1618; Sir Humprey Gilbert to James Smith). Chapter 12 talked about Drake's last voyage and death (1589-1596). The Appendix explained more about the development of the various types of ships used during this time period and how the navy had worked before then.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.