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Editorial Reviews

An excellent new series focuses on major theories in science, ideas that have withstood rigorous testing over a number of years. Well written, with a historical progression of discoveries, these two books convey some of the excitement and controversy that come with important advances in the understanding of the world and the universe. Generating the suspense of a well-written mystery, Plate Tectonics will help students of geology understand why the physical world is as it is. The earth's landmasses are not static, as was once thought, but are broken apart and reformed by the slow movement of plates. Where plates collide, earthquakes are frequent, mountains are thrust up, and deep sea rifts are created as one plate slides under another. Plate tectonic theory came after much arduous and sometimes fatal research in many corners of the globe, from ocean depths to polar icecaps. First among many researchers was Albert Wegener, a brilliant German scientist who died in Greenland still collecting material to support his astonishingly accurate hypothesis. Splendidly written, this slim book will thoroughly engage any student (or teacher) who is remotely interested in the topic. Evolution investigates a topic that still generates controversy in the United States. Early explanations for the diversity of life involved creation. Many people, however, were puzzled by anomalies that creation could not explain. Charles Darwin's five-year collecting voyage on the Beagle gave him material for a lifetime of research, from which he developed his ideas on the evolution of species. Working independently, Alfred Wallace came to identical conclusions. An immediate uproar has not quite died down, butevolution is now the foundation of modern biology. Fleisher explains carefully exactly what Darwin's ideas were and how further research has added to it and answered objections. Readers should know that the book implies that the meteor that ended the age of dinosaurs wiped them out completely, but in fact birds certainly evolved from a group of dinosaurs. In all other respects, the book presents a thorough, non-confrontational, useful discussion of a crucial tenet of biology. Additional titles, The Big Bang and Genetics, are also recommended although they contain science that will be beyond younger students. Also in the series are Germ Theory and Relativity. (Great Ideas of Science). VOYA CODES: 5Q 2P M J S (Hard to imagine it being any better written; For the YA with a special interest in the subject; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2006, Twenty-First Century/Lerner, 80p.; Glossary. Index. Illus. Photos. Maps. Biblio. Source Notes. Further Reading. Chronology., PLB . Ages 11 to 18.
—Rayna Patton
Children's Literature
The theory of evolution has been controversial since it was first suggested by Charles Darwin in the mid-nineteenth century. The theory itself is rather simple and easy to believe in; however, the theological and sociological implications have created a firestorm around the teaching of this theory in schools in the United States. Fleisher presents the theory in the simplest possible terms, providing brief backgrounds into Darwin's and Wallace's lives and their development of the theory during their travels, before proceeding to an explanation of the theory itself. Fleisher provides numerous examples of what Darwin and Wallace observed in their travels, and also provides a broader look at how the theory has been developed and supported over the years by scientists from many disciplines. Included throughout the text are full color photos and illustrations which provide keen examples of evolution in action, as well as images of Darwin's and the other scientists' lives. This text is part of the "Great Ideas of Science" series. 2006, Twenty-First Century Books, Ages 10 to 14.
—Danielle Williams
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-An unapologetic supporter of the theory insists that there is no doubt about it providing the true explanation for the development of life on Earth. Fleisher summarizes some of the ideas about evolution before Darwin's Origin of Species. He goes on to describe the observations Darwin made while on his famous Beagle voyage. A map of the ship's course accompanies this section. The author also describes the travels and observations of Alfred Russel Wallace, who came to the same conclusions as Darwin while he was compiling his ideas. Objections to Darwin's theory in the 1800s and developments and discoveries in the field since then lead to a step-by-step description of how life may have come about and changed through billions of years. The final chapter touches on how principles of evolution have been used to justify eugenics and led to the advancement of genetic engineering and cloning in recent years. Creation science and intelligent design are mentioned as religious teachings rather than scientific theories. Color photographs, charts, and maps highlight the text. Shaded sidebars provide information on such topics as how fossils are dated and the concept of coevolution. A time line and brief biographies of persons of significance are included. Stephen Webster's The Kingfisher Book of Evolution (2000) offers a similar scope in a more colorful, much more generously illustrated and exciting format. However, Webster does not include bibliographical references.-Ann G. Brouse, Steele Memorial Library, Elmira, NY Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780822521341
  • Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/28/2005
  • Series: Great Ideas of Science Series
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 80
  • Age range: 13 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 8.68 (h) x 0.42 (d)

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