HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Crystal and Gem
Authors: R. F. Symes and R. R. Harding
Publisher: Dorling Kindersley Publishers Ltd., republished in 2007
ISBN-13: 978-0756630010 (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0756630010 (Hardcover)
ISBN-13: 978-0751347432 (Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0751347434 (Paperback)
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Reading level: Ages 8 – 12
Rating: ***** 5 stars (EXCELLENT)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Symes, R. F., and Harding, R. R. Crystal and Gem (second edition published in 2002 by DK Children). This DK Eyewitness Book is a guide to crystals and gemstones providing information on all aspects of this topic, from the formation of crystals, semiprecious stones, and precious metals in all shapes, sizes, and colors to their practical uses, as well as showing the reader diamonds being used to cut through a brick wall and where crystals grow in your home. Crystals are “solid materials in which the atoms are arranged in a regular pattern.” And one category of crystals is called gems, “natural crystals chosen for their beauty, durability, and, in many instances, rarity.” There are photographs of over 200 crystals and gems, including Opals, Aragonite, Agate, Tourmaline, Calcite, Topaz, Barite, Hematite, Amethyst, Rose Quartz, The Blue Hope Diamond, Ruskin’s Ruby, Moonstone, Spodumene, Blende, Natural Mosaic, Malachite, Gold, Mother-of-Pearl, Turquoise, and others. Some of the chapters are “What Is a Crystal?”, “The Color of Crystals,” “Stones for Carving,” and “What Is It Worth?” The book also discusses uses of crystals. Certainly, decoration is one. So, too, are crystals used in electronics; they even are in credit cards. Diamonds have industrial uses, because of their hardness. Not only are the photographs great but the information is succinct and fascinating. It is like a mini gemstone museum between the covers of a book. Kids can even play “Guess the gem” color in the back with the chart of birthstones. We checked the book out of the library to accompany our older son Mark’s homeschool science studies about minerals in fifth grade.