Children's LiteratureFor young adults who are interested in science, this is a fantastic book. It takes an honest look at the controversial issues surrounding genetics, including artificial insemination, spinal cord injuries, the use of stem cells, cloning and the human Genome project. It is not, however, a dull description of each topic. It defines and explains each one, constantly exploring how these issues can affect the future. To make it more real to readers, in each chapter are examples of case studies and "what if" scenarios that encourage readers to examine their own views. What makes this book particularly useful for students are the resources in the back. The book not only contains extensive footnotes, it also has a glossary, suggested reading section and online resources. The book does use a lot of technical language that may discourage a teen who is not interested in science or genetics, but most terms are thoroughly explained and addressed from all angles. It is a thought-provoking book that provides plenty of information without taking sides. 2001, Twenty-First Century Books/Millbrook Press, $27.90. Ages 12 to 18. Reviewer: Heather Robertson
VOYAOpening with an excerpt from Aldous Huxley's 1932 science fiction work Brave New World, Hyde and Setaro tackle the hot topics of bioengineering and genetics in this slender volume. They use the excerpt to emphasize that there are huge ethical questions implicit in the discussion and implementation of today's advances in the field of genetics. Students today will need to be able to make responsible and informed decisions as adults about these medical innovations. Topics covered in subsequent chapters include high-tech methods for creating babies, possibilities opened up by stem cell use, creation of transgenic animals, cloning, gene therapy, and the myriad implications inherent in genetic manipulation. Unfortunately, the dynamic topics in the book are presented in a flat writing style. These topics could create tremendous opportunities for serious ethical discussions once the scientific matter is covered adequately. Coverage of the controversial subjects is thoughtfully balanced, and the research is up to date, although some references to Internet addresses are termed "active and correct when the book went to press." Although there is a glossary, it does not define all technical terms for which students might need help. Despite such flaws, however, the presentation of the ideas on these important and timely topics make this book a suitable purchase for middle school science classrooms and libraries. Glossary. Index. Illus. Photos. Source Notes. Further Reading. VOYA CODES: 3Q 3P M J (Readable without serious defects; Will appeal with pushing; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2001, Twenty-First Century, 143p, $27.90. Ages 11 to 15.Reviewer: Mary Ann Darby SOURCE: VOYA, February 2002 (Vol. 24, No.6)
School Library JournalGr 8 Up-The exciting first chapter neatly dissects Aldous Huxley's vision of a brave new world in which a totalitarian government controls our lives and replaces it with the exhilarating, and frightening, prospect of a virtually uncontrolled world in which scientific discoveries and decisions will shape human physiology, medicine, and culture. With a sense of wonder, the authors smoothly navigate readers through the thrilling and terrifying processes by which babies can be engineered, spinal cords repaired, human and animal parts can be created and maintained, cloning is commonplace, and genes change the face of medicine. This brave new world, though, is already in reach and, to a fair extent, in fact. Acknowledging that these discoveries and decisions are in the hands of the young people reading the book, the writers treat them with respect and clarity, never becoming pretentious or patronizing. What makes this work stand out is the way that incredibly complex cellular processes are lucidly explained. Through colorful anecdotes and an effective use of white (and blue) space, as well as clear diagrams, readers are given to understand the different kinds and uses of stem cells, genetics, and experimental medicine, and the controversies that surround them. Students with any scientific bent will be enthralled. Sources for information updates are provided.-Mary R. Hofmann, Rivera Middle School, Merced, CA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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