The attractive and informative books in the "Spyglass Books" series that focuses on life science, earth science, and physical science follow a similar format. They open with a table of contents page and then move right into the subject. Each chapter or section features a heading in large type; words that are defined in the glossary are printed in bold. The text consists of mostly declarative sentences. For example, "Cranberries are fruits that grow in a bog." The photographs are all labeled and appropriate to the content. The text is simple, since these books are aimed at readers in grades 1 and 2. At the end of the text there is an assortment of fun facts. In this book, kids learn that Aztecs grew the first tomatoes over 1,300 years ago in what is now Mexico. The bolded words are defined; there is a resource list with a few references, which are current; references to web sites followed by an index and brief introduction to the author. The extra bonus in this book is learning that the foods we eat can grow under or above ground, on vines and trees and even in water. 2002, Compass Point Books,
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-The heart of each of these books pairs eight pages of text (approximately 250 words) with eight captioned, color photographs. Average in quality, these pictures are more decorative than substantive. The information is extremely general, and the long sentences and decoding difficulty of several words may be too challenging for beginning readers. The glossaries each define four to six words, which appear in bold in the text; they are not necessarily the hardest words. In some cases, oversimplification could lead to misunderstanding. For example, the brief explanation that spring begins "[w]hen the north half of Earth starts to tip toward the sun-" is not prefaced with or followed by further explanation. An accompanying illustration does show Earth tilting precariously near the sun, but other facts are not linked to this one, and too many inferences must be drawn. The other titles also have simplifications that may cause problems. Activities are included in each title; the one in Watch It has easy-to-follow instructions for growing a seed but no time frame is indicated. The result could be soggy soil, rotten seeds, and disappointed young scientists. For very basic information on seasonal activities, these books are adequate, but they are weak resources for reports.-Carolyn Janssen, Children's Learning Center of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, OH Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.