Part of Picture Window Books' "Amazing Science" series, this book for the library market tries to answer kids' questions about how simple machines work. Included are side bars, fun facts, a glossary, and an activity that builds on the book's lessons. Building on the concept of a simple machine, which is defined as anything that helps people do work, children learn how ramps (an inclined plane) help us in work and play. Movers use ramps to carry furniture into their trucks; children gleefully scoot down a ramp called a slide. Ranchers use ramps to lead their horses into trailers; young skateboarders swoop up and down inclined planes at a skating park. Ramps even help cars and trucks to merge in and out of traffic. The message reinforced here is that many familiar items have inclined planes. The activity uses a shoebox, weight, spring scale, and ruler to demonstrate how a ramp works. The bright, computerized illustrations work nicely with the text to entice young readers to hunker down and dig into the book's concepts.
School Library Journal
Gr 1-4-These simple concept books are full of pizzazz and wonderfully illustrated with digital graphics that show kids doing typical kid things. The lumberman on the cover of Cut may not be as enticing as the active children depicted on the other titles. The book also has fewer internal pictures of youngsters, although there is a spread of a boy surrounded by wedges of cake, pie, and pizza. Other spreads depict and discuss doorstops, nails, and airplane wings. In Roll, skateboards, playground slides, and roller coasters are used as examples. Best of all is Scoop, which clearly describes several versions of the lever, found in the playground, garage, and kitchen. Tires discusses wheel sizes, gears, cranks, etc. Unfortunately, "axles" is misspelled on the cover. Each book has an activity and "Fun Facts." The FactHound Web sites listed add more information, but don't take kids to any fun, interactive sites. If you have Sally Hewitt's Machines We Use (Children's Press, 1998) or Anne Welsbacher's "Understanding Simple Machines" series (Capstone, 2001), you may not need these books.-Debbie Whitbeck, West Ottawa Public Schools, Holland, MI Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Michael Dahl is the prolific author of the bestselling Goodnight Baseball picture book and more than 200 other books for children and young adults. He has won the AEP Distinguished Achievement Award three times for his nonfiction, a Teacher's Choice award from Learning magazine, and a Seal of Excellence from the Creative Child Awards. And he has won awards for his board books for the earliest learners, Duck Goes Potty and Bear Says "Thank You!" Dahl has written and edited numerous graphic novels for younger readers, authored the Library of Doom adventure series, the Dragonblood books, Trollhunters, and the Hocus Pocus Hotel mystery/comedy series. Dahl has spoken at schools, libraries, and conferences across the US and the UK, including ALA, AASL, IRA, and Renaissance Learning. He currently lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota in a haunted house.