________________ CM . . . . Volume XIV Number 18. . . .May 2, 2008

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Amazing Electricity. (Amazing Science).

Sally Hewitt.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2008.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $10.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (rlb.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-3624-0 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-3610-3 (rlb.).

Subject Heading:
Electricity-Juvenile literature.

Grades 2-3 / Ages 7-8.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

*1/2 /4

   
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Amazing Forces and Movement. (Amazing Science).

Sally Hewitt.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2008.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $10.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (rlb.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-3625-7 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-3611-0 (rlb.).

Subject Headings:
Force and energy-Juvenile literature.
Motion-Juvenile literature.

Grades 2-3 / Ages 7-8.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

*1/2 /4

   
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Amazing Light. (Amazing Science).

Sally Hewitt.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2008.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $10.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (rlb.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-3626-4 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-3612-7 (rlb.).

Subject Headings:
Light-Juvenile literature.
Optics-Juvenile literature.

Grades 2-3 / Ages 7-8.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

*1/2 /4

   
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Amazing Materials. (Amazing Science).

Sally Hewitt.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2008.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $10.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (rlb.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-3627-1 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-3613-4 (rlb.).

Subject Heading:
Matter-Properties-Juvenile literature.

Grades 2-3 / Ages 7-8.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

*1/2 /4

   
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Amazing Plants. (Amazing Science).

Sally Hewitt.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2008.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $10.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (rlb.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-3628-8 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-3614-1 (rlb.).

Subject Headings:
Plants-Juvenile literature.
Botany-Juvenile literature.

Grades 2-3 / Ages 7-8.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

*1/2 /4

   
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Amazing Sound. (Amazing Science).

Sally Hewitt.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2008.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $10.95 (pbk.), $20.76 (rlb.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-3629-5 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-3615-8 (rlb.).

Subject Heading:
Sound-Juvenile literature.

Grades 2-3 / Ages 7-8.

Review by Gail Hamilton.

*1/2 /4

   

excerpt:

Rays of light bounce off of the things around us and go into our eyes, allowing us to see.

When you shut your eyes, your eyelids keep out light, and you cannot see what is around you. (From
Amazing Light)

 

These six titles comprise the "Amazing Science" series for very young readers. The books, designed to introduce children to some scientific concepts, each have 12 chapters, a table of contents, a glossary and an index. Each double-page spread also has a "Your turn" section which has a question for kids to ponder or a simple activity to try (for example, in the title on electricity, students have to walk through their house to find things that run on batteries), and a colored band across the bottom of the page with two or three important words that might be new vocabulary for readers. At the back of the book is an experiment to try, usually using common household objects. Text is printed in a plain, large font.

     The problem with producing books such as these is that, in simplifying the scientific concepts for youngsters, one runs the risk of oversimplifying, and then the concept becomes confusing and difficult for the child to grasp. Such is the case in most of these books. Illustrations are very large and consist of color photographs and drawings. In fact, the illustrations seem to take center stage.

      Amazing Electricity provides information about the various uses of electricity and how it is made. Readers are warned to use electricity safely and wisely. There are two experiments: the first is the creation of a circuit using a light bulb, a socket, two wires with clips, and a battery pack. The second is a bit more complex, employing the citric acid from a lemon to create electricity. The instructions for the latter are quite lengthy and more complicated, not in keeping with the rest of the book's vocabulary.

      In Amazing Forces and Movement, readers will learn about pushing and pulling, gravity, energy from muscles, engines, and magnetism. This book is particularly weak, its explanations so basic that most young children would not learn anything new. Two examples: "Bikes do not have engines. You have to push the pedals to make the wheels turn" and "The driver uses the controls to start, move and stop the train. Trains slow down and stop at train stations." The experiment at the back of the book shows what happens to iron filings when they are placed near a magnet.

      Amazing Light covers topics such as sunlight versus moonlight, rainbows, reflection, eyesight, colors and artificial light. This is another title that is rather weak in spots. Children can make the colors of the rainbow appear on a piece of paper by following the directions in the experiment provided.

      Very basic information about solids, liquids and gases is given in Amazing Materials. Heating and molding, stretching or weaving raw materials results in new types of products, ranging from bread and pottery to paper, glass and plastic. The experiment demonstrates that air takes up space.

      Amazing Plants highlights the parts of plants, different types of plants and their uses. The age-old celery and food coloring experiment is shown. There are a few good photographs in this title, both of them showing the parts of a plant.

      Sound is caused by vibrations. Amazing Sound attempts to explain the difference between loud and quiet sounds and high and low sounds in relation to vibrations. Readers will find out about the ear, echoes and how sound travels. An experiment to demonstrate vibration and sound waves is described.

      The problem with this series is that it has a limited audience, and it doesn't go far enough in terms of the information given. Understandably, one cannot bombard young readers with lengthy explanations, but there just isn't enough material here to warrant the price of the books. Classroom teachers could generate the same ideas with a class discussion, even at the primary level.

Not recommended.

Gail Hamilton is a teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.
 

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