Children's LiteratureWhat is DNA profiling and how should it be used? What about genetic modification? And should there be cloning? As part of "Science Issues" series, Stoyles and her colleagues address some difficult questions as well as difficult science. The series attempts the Herculean task of looking not only at the basic science and technology that drives our world, but also at the moral, safety, and logistic issues surrounding them. In that regard, this series is unique and should be applauded. Not all science and engineering that is possible should be pursued. This is by far the weakest book of the series. Among other complaints, in the section on genetic modification, the text explains that the gene for the blue carnation comes from a petunia. Unfortunately, the accompanying picture shows a purple flower, not a blue one as the caption says. Like the other books in the series, each section sets up a "debate" about the issues presented. These debates are purposely not resolved, leaving the reader room to make up his or her own mind. It is a good practice, though I would have liked a line inviting the reader to do more research as well. The illustrations of photos and graphics are adequate, although in this particular book the lack of racial diversity in people is even more grating than normal, since the issues discussed include genetic diversity. Backmatter includes a summary of the issues and arguments, a glossary, and an index. 2004. Smart Apple Media, Ages 8 to 12.
Amy S. Hansen