by Kay Manolis

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Paula K. Zeller
Part of a series called "Simple Machines" designed for "early fluent/fluent" readers, this book tells what levers are, including the three different classes, and how they work. The concept of complex machines also is introduced. The design is bright and engaging, with lots of photos of kids in motion and several simple diagrams. But there is a disconnect: Although the reading level is geared to the needs of young readers, the presentation of basic physics principles is not. For example, the answer to the question, "What Is a Lever?" on page 5 is roundabout: "Have you ever used a rake to gather leaves? A rake is a lever. It helps you move leaves into piles. A lever is a simple machine." The text goes on to explain that simple machines help people move objects, which is called "doing work." Not until the next two-page spread, "How Levers Work," is a lever defined. Also, the classes of levers are introduced via simple diagrams on pages 10 and 11, and examples of each are on the following pages. But so much is introduced so quickly, and without accompanying labels on the photos (except for the second-class lever, a nutcracker), that this reviewer had to page back to the introductory diagrams to understand why, for example, a baseball batter is a third-class lever. Brief "fun facts" throughout the book help explain the concepts—although one describes a skateboarding kick turn with no apparent relation to levers. Back matter includes a glossary, recommended books, and directions for finding related websites via factsurfer.com—a good source of kid-friendly links when it works. Reviewer: Paula K. Zeller

Product Details

Bellwether Media
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.70(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.30(d)
Age Range:
5 - 9 Years

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