Friday, December 5, 2014

Book Review: Close to the Wind (supplement to Mater Amabilis Level 1A Weather)

Close to the Wind: The Beaufort Scale by Peter Malone

Earlier this week, our assignment for second grade Weather centered on the Beaufort Scale. (We're following the Mater Amabilis Level 1A schedule of lessons.) I happened to know about Peter Malone's book and was delighted to have a way to incorporate it into our studies. I read it aloud to second daughter, talking about wind and waves and ocean travels in the early 1800s.

This book conveys a lot of information about Beaufort, the scale he designed, and life at sea during his time. Along the way there are many interesting tidbits of information. The illustrations are excellent, including one at the end showing all the masts and sails with descriptions and names for each of them.

At the end of the book (a certain sign of a good one), Second Daughter wanted to learn more. She wanted to see the wind and waves in action. So of course I did what any American homeschooling mom with a bit of time to spare would do and we pulled up YouTube. This video is an excellent representation of the progression of the scale. Second Daughter, however, preferred this one. It's a little more entertaining but still informative.

The real treasure for me, though, is this recording of Sir Ian McKellan reciting the scale. (It would be even better without the laughter.) Can't you just imagine someone daring him to read something mundane and make it dramatic?

Back to the book...It's an excellent addition to any study of weather and recommended for a wide variety of ages.

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