Compact Research: Energy and the Environment

Oil Spills and Offshore Drilling: ISBN 978-1-60152-141-5 / eBook:978-1-60152-350-1
Booklist, February 15, 2012

The US is the largest consumer of oil in the world, but its domestic production can't meet the country's oil needs. The choice to drill offshore remains controversial, and this balanced title in the Compact Research: Energy and the Environment series offers students a starting place for looking at both sides of the debate. The straightforward text begins with a brief history of America's offshore drilling, from the first oil rigs off the coast of California at the turn of the twentieth century to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion. The bulk of the text focuses on four areas of concern: whether the U.S. needs to drill offshore, potential environmental risks, the adequacy of drilling regulations, and the future of offshore drilling. Following each section are primary source quotes, key facts, and connected maps, charts, and graphs. Although the book only includes two photographs, extensive back matter includes a chronology, a bibliography, source notes, related organizations, and key people and advocacy groups. The best feature is providing enough information for students to make their own informed decisions.

Hydropower: ISBN 978-1-60152-122-4 / eBook: 978-1-60152-434-8
Oil Spills and Offshore Drilling: ISBN 978-1-60152-141-5 / eBook:978-1-60152-350-1
School Library Journal, May 2011

Gr 5 Up These timely volumes have up-to-date information with frequent references to the Three Gorges Dam in China (Hydropower) and the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico (Oil Spills). The strong points of the books are their organization and their usability. Each volume begins with a two-page introduction to the topic, followed by an overview of approximately 10 pages and then 4 chapters, each organized around a question. Hydropower poses questions concerning the possibility of reducing dependency on fossil fuels, the impact of hydropower on the environment, how developing countries can benefit from its use, and if the oceans represent the future of hydropower. Oil Spills asks if the U.S. needs to drill offshore, if it's an environmental risk, if regulations are adequate, and discusses the future of offshore drilling. In both books, each chapter is followed by a section of primary-source quotes espousing pro and con views. Each title concludes with a "Key People and Advocacy Groups" section. These volumes are first-rate ready-reference books and excellent to use in teaching research with primary documents.

Toxic Waste: ISBN 978-1-60152-124-8 / eBook: 978-1-60152-436-2
Booklist, March 1, 2011

Taken alone, many of the quotes and facts about toxic waste found in this latest installment of the Compact Research: Energy and the Environment series could be downright frightening for young researchers. However, Kallen’s carefully organized monograph offers insight not just into the overwhelming problem of toxic waste, but also solutions and considerations for the future. A detailed chronology of topics, such as the potential harm of waste from electronics and the global impact of pollution, is included in the appendix. Replete with full-color images of toxic sludge and easily understandable graphs and charts, the book is a concise information source. Citations are clearly referenced and up to date. Primary source quotes are included for each chapter, offering a variety of perspectives, from scientists, business people, and politicians, on the gravity of the noxious waste problem. The book serves as a great starting point for student investigation, providing a long list of websites for further exploration.
—Erin Anderson

Toxic Waste: ISBN 978-1-60152-124-8 / eBook: 978-1-60152-436-2
Coal Power: ISBN 978-1-60152-107-1 / eBook: 978-1-60152-426-3
School Library Journal, November 2010

The first book discusses the seriousness of toxic and electronic waste, the effectiveness of cleanup efforts, and future challenges. The second title examines the global demand for coal power, environmental impacts of burning and mining it, and the future of the industry. In a concise, objective manner, the books investigate historical, economic, political, and environmental issues. Primary-source quotations; short narrative texts, followed by relevant quotations; a section with a bulleted list of one-sentence facts; pertinent illustrations; and annotated lists of key people, organizations, and advocacy groups are included. Opposing quotes are paired off in brackets. These books are well researched and carefully organized, and the discussion and quality content make them useful for research.

Hydrogen Power: ISBN 978-1-60152-073-9 / eBook: 978-1-60152-445-4
Booklist, February 15, 2010

Part of the Compact Research: Energy and the Environment series, this volume provides teen researchers a one-stop resource for a credible and citable narrative, facts, figures, illustrations, and primary-source quotes on this timely topic. Four main sections explain the dependence on fossil fuels, the viability of hydrogen as an alternative, its impact on global warming, and what the future might hold. This resource offers information that could be used on both sides of an issue; yet rather than presenting the information in a point/counterpoint format, it is presented in a more concise manner. There are text boxes on many pages, but the format of the book remains uncluttered. Wide margins and extra spaces between lines of text allow for easier reading. Subheadings break the text into manageable blocks. Quotes, facts, and full-color figures are presented at the end of each chapter rather than interspersed in the body of the text. The book includes a chronology; related organizations; a list of books, periodicals, and Internet sources; chapter source notes; and a detailed index.
—J. B. Petty

Deforestation: ISBN 978-1-60152-075-3 / eBook: 978-1-60152-401-0
Biofuels: ISBN 978-1-60152-078-4 / eBook: 978-1-60152-404-1
Fossil Fuels: ISBN 978-1-60152-079-1 / eBook: 978-1-60152-405-8
Hydrogen Power: ISBN 978-1-60152-073-9 / eBook: 978-1-60152-445-4
Solar Power: ISBN 978-1-60152-074-6 / eBook: 978-1-60152-400-3
Wind Power: ISBN 978-1-60152-080-7 / eBook: 978-1-60152-406-5
School Library Journal, November 2009, Series Made Simple Supplement

Gr 9 Up These titles pack a ton of useful research information into small packages. The organization will appeal to researchers with limited prior knowledge, as the books begin with “At a Glance” summaries and then expand to chapter-length discussions. Chapters pose questions (“How Do Biofuels Affect the Environment?”), explore the issues in a clear narrative, and conclude with sections of primary-source quotes, compact facts, and informative illustrations. Deforestation feels like the odd man out, but it clearly explains the problems with the use of wood as a fuel, and describes efforts to change that trend.

Biomedical Ethics: ISBN 978-1-60152-157-6 / eBook: 978-1-60152-368-6
The Death Penalty: ISBN 978-1-60152-158-3
The Green Movement: ISBN 978-1-60152-163-7 / eBook: 978-1-60152-374-7
School Library Journal, January, 2012

Gr 7 Up These concise volumes explore three controversial topics by combining objective narratives, opinion-based primary documents, and relevant supporting data. Each book begins with a useful overview of the issue before moving on to the fundamental questions that surround it, such as "Should Doctors Be Allowed to Help Patients Die?" "Does the Death Penalty Deter Violent Crime?" "Do the Benefits of Going Green Outweigh the Costs?" While the questions are pertinent and the answers solid in construction, the brief primary-source quotations, divorced as they are from the context of their complete arguments, are of little use to student researchers. The same can be said for the "Facts and Illustrations" sections that, while eye-catching, may only provide prefatory material for much larger issues. Although rounded out by chronologies, lists of related organizations, and print and online resources for further research, these books attempt too much while readers come away with too little.