The A to Z of Scientific Discoveries

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Colleen Kessler
Some of the greatest discoveries in science are catalogued in this set of six books. They provide an overview in a fun, easy-to-read manner. Discoveries are arranged in alphabetic order and then defined. The process of the discovery also is described, who made it, why it is important, and how knowledge about it has changed through the years. For example, in Volume 1 A-C, Chlorine is defined as the 17th most common element in the world, though it is never found by itself in nature. The text describes how chlorine was discovered by the Swedish chemist Carl Scheele in 1774 and how the discovery was refined in 1810 by English scientist Sir Humphrey Davies. It continues to describe the relationship between chlorine and salt and how the element is used in everyday life. Bright photographs grace the page with detailed captions describing them. Each spread includes a "Did You Know?" sidebar with an interesting fact about the discovery. For example, did you know that salt, which is chlorine and sodium, was paid to ancient Roman soldiers? This was called their salarium and is where we get the term salary. One of the more intriguing features on each spread is the included glossary. Readers of all ages will love the ease of finding defined words right on the page where they are featured. Each book contains an index to make looking up key information easy. The six books in this series are bright and engaging. Their covers have bright photographs designed to draw in even the most reluctant of readers. Kids will be able to use these books for reports, science projects, and simply as an introduction to new science and careers they may not have heard of before. Volume 1 contains the letters A through C with topics like aluminum, the Big Bang theory, buoyancy, circulation, and comets. Volume 2 contains the letters D-G with topics including the dodo, electricity, fermentation, fossils, galaxies, and gravity. Volume 3 features the letters H-L with topics like helium, insulin, the Kuiper belt, lasers, and light. Volume 4 holds the letters M-O, including information about the magnetic poles, Mars, the Moon, nitrogen, oil, and the ozone layer. Volume 5, letters P-S, includes photosynthesis, Pluto, quinine, respiration, silk, and sunspots. Finally, Volume 6 features the remainder of the alphabet with topics like tooth decay, Tuberculosis, Uranus, vaccines, water, Xocolatl, Yttrium, and Zero temperature. Really, these volumes are treasure troves of knowledge, scientific history in a nutshell! Reviewer: Colleen Kessler
School Library Journal
Gr 3–6—Brief in presentation but not oversimplified, this alphabetic roster of 84 discoveries and inventions provides plenty for hungry young intellects to chew on. Each volume contains 14 entries; each entry covers a spread and opens with a definition in larger type ("Fermentation turns sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide gas. It is commonly used in food production"), then provides a brief description of how the discovery was made and closes with an analysis of its human or scientific significance. Spot art or (more commonly) a large color photo or diagram on each page adds further detail as do frequent time lines, boxed facts, and mini-glossaries. As the topics range from "Aluminum" to "Xocolatl (Chocolate)," the depth of detail varies, but the authors cover the essentials well and without shying away from specific terminology. The contributions of Rosalind Franklin, for instance, are acknowledged in the "DNA" article, and "Buoyancy" introduces readers to ounces, newtons, and the concept of displacement. There are no leads to further sources of information, and no comprehensive index, so as a reference resource this set doesn't measure up to the likes of Growing Up with Science (Marshall Cavendish, 2005) or even Jenny Tesar and Bryan Bunch's The Blackbirch Encyclopedia of Science and Invention (Gale, 2001). Still, this work's format and content will invite an unusually broad audience to the sci/tech table.—John Peters, New York Public Library
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781599204499
  • Publisher: Black Rabbit Books
  • Publication date: 1/1/2010
  • Series: The A to Z of Scientific Discoveries Series
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.30 (d)

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