Science - 06.12.2019

(singke) #1

1188 6 DECEMBER 2019 • VOL 366 ISSUE 6470 SCIENCE





into the bright light of day. Raman Prinja
takes readers on a tour of space, starting
from our own Solar System. We stop at the
Sun and every planet along the way, then
travel through asteroids, comets, and dwarf
planets, before moving on to exoplanets,
other stars, our Galaxy, and finally our Uni-
verse. Each page is accompanied by Chris
Wormell’s beautiful illustrations, which
make the book feel truly timeless.
Like any good museum display, each page
is bite-sized and accessible to its target age
group (8- to 12-year-olds). Prinja makes lib-
eral and clever use of analogies to convey just
how big (or small, or difficult) things are. He
answers questions before the reader can even
ask them, often with a nice touch of humor:
How do we find other planets? What would
it be like to stand on Venus? Who decided on
the constellations we use today? What holds
the arms of a spiral galaxy together?
The book concludes with theories of how
our Universe will end, which range from
“The Big Rip,” where the Universe’s growth
accelerates until it tears itself apart; to “The
Big Crunch,” a contraction of the Universe
down to nearly nothing; to “The Big Chill,”
the continual expansion of the Universe un-
til it slowly cools and dies. This should feel
more grim than it does, but Prinja cuts the
tension with wonder at the mysteries that
are left to uncover and a persistent sense
that we are on the cusp of knowing more.

Planetarium, Raman Prinja, Illustrated by Chris
Wormell, Big Picture Press, 2019, 104 pp.

Eye Spy

Reviewed by Pamela J. Hines^6

The table in my hallway is blue. My son
swears it’s green. My nephew says it’s
brown. Vision helps us interpret the world
around us, but what if we each see the same
thing differently? Eye Spy, a child’s lift-the-
flap book, gives readers a glimpse into the

lives of animals whose views of the world
are even more divergent than my family’s.
The woodcock has eyes on the sides of
its head that deliver a full-circle view. The
chameleon, disorienting to look at, has an
equally disorienting view of its own world,
with eyes that can work together or roll
around independently, as needed. The book
is filled with fun facts and relates field of
view, color perception, and sharpness of
focus to an animal’s place in the pecking
order: predator, prey, vegetarian, frugivore.
The lift-the-flap approach brings an ele-
ment of surprise for a child looking through
the eyes of the animals drawn on the page,
although the detailed factual summaries in-
side the flaps might require a bit of adult
interpretation for the younger child.
In the end, I was reassured to learn that
my perpetual nearsightedness, although
perhaps not normal for humans, is how
most chimpanzees see the world. (Maybe
that’s why I like fruit so much?)

Eye Spy: Wild Ways Animals See the World,
Guillaume Duprat, What on Earth Books, 2018, 36 pp.

Kid Scientists

Reviewed by Hadassah Nusinovich Ucko^7 and
Yevgeniya Nusinovich^8

Kid Scientists by David Stabler is a biog-
raphy about the childhoods of famous sci-
entists. The featured scientists—including
Jane Goodall, Albert Einstein, and Stephen
Hawking—are presented at around the
same age as the target audience, making it
easier for readers to identify with them. The
book’s main goal, which is admirably
achieved, appears to be supporting young
people’s interest in science.
Each story starts with that particular
scientist’s early inspiration and is accompa-
nied by simple activities that any child can
do, such as stargazing. An essay on Kath-
erine Johnson, for example, describes her

predilection for counting household items,
such as dishes, long before she became a
professional mathematician.
Stabler carefully avoids favoring any one
group of people, achieving an even balance
between scientists of different races and gen-
ders, which makes it easier for children of
various backgrounds to find role models who
look like them. Although the author’s efforts
to emphasize the stories of women and peo-
ple of color appear obvious to an adult reader,
children are unlikely to notice this as a delib-
erate choice on the author’s part. (Children
may likewise fail to notice when the book
glosses over important details, such as the
influence of the World Wars on the scientific
enterprise.) Occasionally, the book’s attempts
to communicate the barriers faced by women
and minorities in science lack subtlety and
can come across as heavy-handed (e.g., “be-
cause of her gender, [Rosalind Franklin] was
never given proper credit for her discover-
ies”), but, overall, the stories read well.
In the end, Kid Scientists is an interesting
collection of anecdotes, with stories about
Benjamin Franklin’s swimming fins, Ada
Lovelace’s obsession with flying horses, and
other fun facts that most readers are un-
likely to have encountered before. As such,
most children should enjoy reading it, with-
out noticing how much they are learning, as
they internalize the idea that they, too, can
grow up to be scientists.

Kid Scientists: True Tales of Childhood from Science
Superstars, David Stabler, Illustrated by Anoosha Syed,
Quirk Books, 2018, 207 pp.


Reviewed by Laura M. Zahn^9

Birds are some of the most accessible wild
animals. Observing them requires no spe-
cial equipment. Although we may hear owls
outside as we prepare to slumber, however,
few of us see them regularly.
Focusing on the biology of these predatory

Particles from the Sun compress Earth’s magnetosphere on the side facing the Sun and stretch it into a long tail on the side facing away from the Sun.

Published by AAAS

on December 12, 2019^

Downloaded from
Free download pdf