Children's Literature - Barbara L. TalcroftWithout energy there would be no life; transformation of energy from one form to another makes things happen. In this appealing "Energy in Action" series, tweens and even teens can learn how energy works in many different spheres. Each book includes big double-page spreads that define energy, matter, forces, and their interactions, using examples highlighting the book's topic. In this volume, the authors explore how energy works when we produce and use power and fuel. Potential (or stored) energy exists in water behind a dam, chemical energy in coal and oil, and electrical energy stored in power plants; light, heat, sound, and moving electrical energy are kinetic. Light energy from the Sun can heat homes and watercolor photos picture a passive solar house and solar-powered garden lights, both designed to save energy. Another interesting photo contrasts an old generator with color shots of wind turbines on a hill and a power plant near a coal mine, showing other ways to generate power. Especially effective are color diagrams of underwater turbines, generators in a hydroelectric plant, and one demonstrating clearly how internal combustion engines work; kids also get a look at a typical car battery that stores chemical energy and an all-electric car whose motor uses electromagnets. Each book is sprinkled with "It's a Fact" sidebars conveying basic information and "Snapshots" about scientists like Alessandro Volta, inventor of an early type of battery, and Rudolf Diesel, whose first motor ran on peanut oil. A "Future Flash" page predicts that fuel cells may power cars of the future. The books have an energy of their own with backgrounds of lively greens, blues, lavenders, and golds; photos and diagrams are placed just where they're needed, well-selected and clearly reproduced. An excellent value for the modest price! Reviewer: Barbara L. Talcroft
School Library Journal - School Library JournalGr 3�5—Filled with average descriptions of forces, types and forms of energy, and the nature of matter, these volumes present basic surveys of how energy is put to work in nature, our bodies, and technology. The texts are broken up into brief, easy-to-follow segments and interspersed with large color photos, boxed thumbnail profiles of scientists, clearly labeled diagrams, and instructions for simple demonstrations or experiments. Power skips nuclear energy but highlights sustainable usage and renewable resources. The final page in each volume focuses on a few cutting-edge developments; for example, Life covers the potential for improved artificial limbs modeled on ostrich joints. There are no lists of additional sources.
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