This entry in the "Early Bird Physics" textbook series explains what work is, defines the simple machine under discussion, introduces special terminology such as fulcrum, fixed pulley, third class lever, or friction, and shows variations on that machine that make it more complicated. Simple hands-on activities explore some of the properties of inclined planes and wedges and illustrate ways to increase or decrease the force needed to lift objects by varying aspects of the simple machine. A multiracial cast of children who look to be about nine or ten are photographed in posed situations to illustrate concepts and most look realistic. Diagrams also help children see where force is applied or what can be altered to make work easier. An end note to adults presents helpful discussion questions and ways to explore the vocabulary specific to each machine, while a bibliography of other books about the topic and two generic web sites suggest further exploration. A glossary and index with a note about how to help children use these sources are included. All in all, this book present solid support for adults in introducing simple machines to elementary age children in an appealing package that children can also read for themselves. 2002, Lerner Publications, $23.93. Ages 7 to 10. Reviewer: Susan Hepler
School Library Journal
Gr 2-4-Written in simple language and sentences, these slim titles offer straightforward explanations of how things work. Starting with the basics, the material gradually builds upon readers' growing understanding of the concepts presented. The experiments suggested can be performed with little assistance and with materials found in the home. Clear, distinct, color photos of children demonstrating the activities on each page help reinforce the concepts, as do the many drawings and diagrams. Children will find these accessible titles informative, and may see their world in a different light after reading them. The narrow focus of each title may serve a purpose for classroom units.-Susan Shaver, Hemingford Public Schools, NE Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.