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Children's Nonfiction How Things Work-are Made

50 Burning Questions

A Sizzling History of Fire

by (author) Tanya Lloyd Kyi

illustrated by Ross Kinnaird

Annick Press
Initial publish date
Feb 2010
How Things Work-Are Made
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Feb 2010
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Feb 2010
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Feb 2010
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 9 to 12
  • Grade: 3
  • Reading age: 9 to 12


If we took time to examine the flames in our world—fires that have built civilizations, sparked entire religions, and literally changed the surface of the Earth—can you imagine how many questions we would have? The 50 questions in this book may be just the beginning, but they will intrigue and excite young readers.

From the question of “Who’s for dinner?” (before mastering fire, humans were more likely to be prey than predators), to “Who were the first firefighters?” (Romans over 2,000 years ago), to “Why don’t firewalkers get toasted feet?” (theories abound, but no one knows for certain), the amazing answers reveal the crucial role fire has played for millennia.

With a humorous touch (“Who was the first hairy potter?”), Tanya Lloyd Kyi presents fascinating facts alongside innovative activities for kids, like sending breath through a glass jar and playing spy games with a flashlight. Each sidebar turns up the heat on the subject, while comical illustrations make for a fun and fiery visual presentation.

About the authors


Tanya Lloyd Kyi has written over fifteen books of fiction and nonfiction for middle-grade and young-adult readers, including many award winners. Her recent titles for Annick Press include Extreme Battlefields: When War Meets the Forces of Nature (2016), DNA Detective (2015), and When the Worst Happens: Extraordinary Stories of Survival (2014). Tanya lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, with her husband and two children.


Tanya Lloyd Kyi's profile page

Ross Kinnaird is an illustrator who has worked in London, Sydney, and Hong Kong. He currently lives in Auckland, New Zealand.

Ross Kinnaird's profile page


  • Short-listed, Science in Society Book Award

Editorial Reviews

“… a fun and informative book for anyone fascinated by fire, which means pretty much everyone.”

Booklist, 12/10

Librarian Reviews

50 Burning Questions: A Sizzling History of Fire (50 Questions)

In a kid-friendly question-and-answer format, this book looks at the crucial role fire has played in the history of the world — from building civilizations to sparking entire religions to changing the Earth’s surface. Humorous illustrations, tongue-in-cheek text and some interesting activities make this book lots of fun as well as informative.

Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. 2011.

Other titles by Tanya Lloyd Kyi

Other titles by Ross Kinnaird