Cindy L. Carolan
Children's LiteratureJunk food. You may or may not love it, but chances are you have eaten it at one time or another, or quite possibly are eating it now. Children of all ages (including adults) will benefit from reading this unusual examination of the part of the food pyramid that occupies the tiniest spot. Popcorn, corn chips, chocolate, candy, potato chips, and soda are all discussed in individual chapters. The evolution of the particular foods and beverages is presented, as are simple yet mind-bogglingly effective, scientific experiments pertaining to each one that can be performed at home. Some examples of these experiments include making rock candy to see the development of slow-grown sugar crystals, melting candy bars with a hair dryer to see the bloom of cocoa butter crystals, and dissecting a bag of microwave popcorn, to name a few. Another chapter in the book is solely devoted to deciphering the nutrition labels on packaged food. Colorful photographs throughout add immensely to the subject matter. The author has written numerous books for children that are both scientific and fun. She states at the conclusion of the book, "the best thing about knowing more about junk food is that you have the power to choose for yourself." Wise words for all of us. This title is part of the "Where's the Science Here?" series that also includes the titles Fireworks, Sneakers, and On Stage. Highly recommended. 2006, Millbrook Press, Ages 9 to 12.
Cindy L. Carolan
School Library JournalGr 4-8-Cobb employs a conversational and engaging voice in these texts, and this, coupled with colorful photographs on every page, will stimulate readers. The reading level is quite advanced, but younger students could enjoy the books with an older reading buddy. All three titles include experiments to do under adult supervision. From pictures of different types of display formations to those of chemicals being loaded into mortar tubes, readers will find interesting illustrations that support the text in Fireworks. They will learn about the science of pyrotechnics and be exposed to words like "chemical reaction," "combustion," and "lift charges." Sections offer a historical overview of the evolution of the study of fire, the mechanics of "building" fireworks (including how to add different colors), how explosions are timed, and how pyrotechnicians avoid "nasty surprises." In Junk Food, readers encounter words like "atmospheric pressure," "dissect," "susceptor," "molecules," and "calcium oxide," as well as myriad other scientific terms. Sections devoted to good nutrition are included, and children will learn how to read and interpret a "Nutrition Facts" label. From photographs of the inside of a sneaker factory to X-rays of the foot to a picture of how rubber is extracted from a rubber tree, readers will find a new angle to spark their interest in Sneakers. They will learn about how sneakers are designed and made, and even how to test their fit. Attractive choices that relate science to topics that fascinate kids.-Corrina Austin, Locke's Public School, St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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