This Book Thinks You're a Scientist by Harriet Russell
|This Book Thinks You're a Scientist by Harriet Russell|
|Category: Children's Non-Fiction|
|Reviewer: Tony Taylor|
|Summary: Fun, friendly and creative science investigations for the young scientist.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 96||Date: August 2016|
|Publisher: Thames and Hudson Ltd|
This Book Thinks You're a Scientist takes children through a whole world of scientific areas: forces and motions, light, matter, sound, electricity and magnetism. It encourages children to look, ask questions and a have a go. This science-based activity book, published in association with the Science Museum, will stimulate and inspire young minds.
Let me set the scene. My wife and I are both primary school teachers and we have two young boys (aged 7 and nearly 4), therefore we are a prime audience. We have spent our six-week holiday putting this book through its paces. We have tried, tested and evaluated nearly every one of the 31 investigations. So, to cut to the chase, this is an excellent book for budding scientists and all children who want to know what will happen if...
Two key areas stand out as being particularly impressive: the presentation of the book and the user-friendly nature of the investigations. Let me deal with the first point. The pages are predominately pictorial with easy to follow step by step instructions. The pictures are really fun with a hand-drawn feel to them and the font used is clear, sharp and also look as if they are hand written. This style is incredibly attractive to children and I am sure this informal style will draw them in. The quality of the book is also a particular advantage. The paper used is thick and a slightly cream colour. It is important to mention here that the paper choice, feel, colour and the clear font would make this book appealing for dyslexic readers and less-confident readers.
On to the second point - the friendly nature of the investigations. Each page has two key subheadings: Do This and How it Works. Both are short paragraphs and give you direct, precise information. No additional words are used when they are not needed, the book is more about the practical work. The How it Works paragraphs are excellent - one on each page - often only 2-3 sentences long. It tells you just enough to give an understanding of what is happening and why. Long words are only used when required but mostly the language is accessible to children aged 8+. The investigation themselves do not require a whole science laboratory of equipment - mostly we had everything at home already: keys, elastic bands, coins etc. Throughout, the book provides templates, pictures or tables and you are encouraged to write in the book itself. This really is a pick-up and have a go book; often science books for children require additional expense and sadly they end up on a dusty bookshelf. But not this one. After the first couple of investigations my children really felt they were scientists.
There are numerous quality investigations contained in the book and I do not want to give too much away as this may spoil your experience. However I would like to share two different investigations to give a flavour of the science. Firstly, the investigation on Forces and Motion where children experiment with how movement affects your drawing was really fun. My children both had a go and we had a good simple discussion on the science behind it. On the subject of light, we created an obstacle course to send a beam of light. We were able to bounce, filter and divert the light from our torch. This had the science wow factor to it and our boys couldn't believe that it worked.
For further reading, I would suggest Eye Benders: The Science of Seeing and Believing by Clive Gifford and Professor Anil Seth.
This Book Thinks You're a Scientist by Harriet Russell is in the Top Ten Children's Non-Fiction Books of 2016.
You can read more book reviews or buy This Book Thinks You're a Scientist by Harriet Russell at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy This Book Thinks You're a Scientist by Harriet Russell at Amazon.com.
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