The Great Motion Mission: A Surprising Story of Physics in Everyday Life by Cora Lee, Kim Rosen |, Paperback | Barnes & Noble
The Great Motion Mission: A Surprising Story of Physics in Everyday Life

The Great Motion Mission: A Surprising Story of Physics in Everyday Life

by Cora Lee, Kim Rosen

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Audrey throws a curve ball to show that the laws of motion can be fun.


Audrey throws a curve ball to show that the laws of motion can be fun.

Editorial Reviews

Canadian Children's Book News
The explanations are clear...and Lee has done a good job in simplifying and interpreting the concepts.
The explanations are clear...and Lee has done a good job in simplifying and interpreting the concepts.
The explanations are clear...and Lee has done a good job in simplifying and interpreting the concepts.
School Library Journal
Gr 4–6—This book is a combination of narrative and concepts about physics, similar to Lee's The Great Number Rumble (Annick, 2007). Jeremy and his friends are distraught when the local summer fair is canceled in order to host a physics conference. While Jeremy helps his uncle campaign to save the fair, his new neighbor, Aubrey, sets out to prove that physics isn't only necessary, but also fun. The text is chatty and accessible to students. Topics include "Physics and Sight," "Physics and Sound," and "Physics in Motion." Each chapter profiles a featured physicist, from Albert Einstein to Richard Feynman. A discussion of baseball and pitching illustrates the concepts of aerodynamics and momentum. Theme-park rides are used to explain gravity and acceleration. Cartoon illustrations help to explain concepts such as the water cycle and wave patterns. Photographs are scattered throughout, and boxed areas highlight specific topics. This title would be especially useful for students wanting a good introduction to physics.—Maren Ostergard, King County Library System, Issaquah, WA
Kirkus Reviews
Opposition to a proposal to build a university physics research center on the grounds of an amusement park is the thin story line surrounding this lively introduction to physics for middle-school readers. When Jeremy and reporter Liam attempt to organize kids for a demonstration, visiting physics enthusiast Audrey reveals the connections between physics and sports, art and music; its importance in studies of weather, and space and time; and how it underlies carnival rides and consumer electronics. Sidebars add explanations, definitions and examples of "weird stuff" (often astrophysical), and a series of biographies introduces scientists from Einstein and Curie to Hawking and Feynman. Rolston's cartoon drawings, featuring a diverse group of young people, enliven each page. The explanations are clear but technical enough to require some effort on the part of the reader. Backmatter includes an extensive glossary and wide-ranging suggestions for further reading and web explorations as well as an index. Like its companion, The Great Number Rumble (2007), this introduces a complicated field of study in a lighthearted way. (Nonfiction. 9-13)
VOYA - Heather Pittman
When the city decides to shut down the local amusement park in favor of a physics conference, Jeremy and his Uncle Liam try to stop the boring convention and save the fair. Jeremy's new friend Audrey is excited about attending the conference. As Jeremy and Liam try to garner support for the summer fair, Audrey comes along, expertly demonstrating how physics is a fun part of everyday life. Jeremy finds himself acting as a double agent, pretending to support Audrey while really trying to save his beloved rides. This clever use of narrative to present a complex topic is sure to please students and teachers. Audrey teaches the baseball team about aerodynamics, helping them to improve their pitching. She talks about light and the electromagnetic spectrum at the art gallery and wins over the musicians by explaining acoustics. She even uses the rides at the fairgrounds to discuss the laws of motion. Along the way, Jeremy and Liam try to thwart her attempts to gain support for physics, but she slowly wins over Jeremy and eventually the whole city with her simple explanations of how physics touches every aspect of life. This excellent book is accessible, with colorful illustrations, handy insets, and a creative story. Jeremy is a fun narrator to follow, with plenty of humorous observations coloring the narrative. The concepts are explained in easy, relatable terms that make the fundamentals of physics clear to any beginner. Reviewer: Heather Pittman

Product Details

Annick Press, Limited
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
7.00(w) x 9.40(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
9 - 11 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1


Don't get me wrong. Like any sane, freedom-loving kid, I start itching for summer vacation the day school starts -- but now that summer's come, it's shaping up to be kind of dull.

Why? Well, my main mission in life is to have fun. And right now, it seems like a conspiracy's operating against that. Threat No.1: Sam's not around. It's not like I don't have other friends, but he's right next door. Sure, I could've gone with him on exchange, but can you see me studying at math camp all summer? I had other plans.

Or so I thought. Then along comes Threat No.2: the city's shutting down the summer fair for the first time ever, and probably for good. The university wants to build a new physics research center on the fairgrounds. It's practically a done deal -- all they need is the mayor's signature. They're holding a physics conference on the site next week to celebrate and show off the site to the scientists. So instead of kids swarming the coaster and scarfing down corn dogs, physicists will be parking where the rides are now and scoping out the blueprints inside -- when they're not listening to each other's lectures, of course. Oh, or teaching summer physics camp -- basically, free classes they're offering kids to take the place of the amusement park rides. Right. Don't everybody rush to register! Real geniuses there at the university.

After the conference, construction begins. Apparently the whole thing's a big honor for our little town and everybody's thrilled, according to the news. Everybody, huh? Guess they forgot to ask me.

They must've missed Liam, too. Liam's my uncle, and he's lived in our basement forever. He's all right, but I don't exactly advertise the fact that we're related. He writes for the local paper, a cool job -- in the right hands. But in his newspaper columns, he keeps calling me "Jeremy, the little boy upstairs with the dark curls." I mean, come on. Maybe he's forgotten the growth spurt that made me so much taller than him. I can't stand the way he talks, either. His voice is way too big for his size, just like his swelled head. He's always bragging about something. Anyway, we do have one thing in common. We both wish this conference -- the XIV Symposium on the Universality of Physics -- and building project would just disappear. He's supposed to write up the conference for the newspaper and, well, he's definitely got a phobia when it comes to physics.

"Physics! In high school, I skipped it when I could and slept through it when I couldn't." Liam actually whimpered when he said this. He recovered quickly enough, but you could still hear the panic under all the complaining. "All that research I'll have to do is a waste of my brain space and talent. When will I ever need physics again? It's an insult, that's what it is. I can think of a dozen assignments better suited to a journalist of my caliber."

I felt for him, I really did, but I had problems of my own: namely, Threat No.3, the final reason why this will be the worst summer ever. I said Sam was on exchange, right? So this girl Audrey's staying with his family. Sam's parents told my parents, who asked me -- more like told me -- to make sure I include Audrey in all my plans, so she's not lonely so far from home. I said sure, no big deal, but I wasn't expecting a visitor from Mars!

She's only from the other side of the country, but where's an intergalactic translator when you need one? In Scrabble the other day, she racked up points using words my teachers wouldn't know (go ahead, ask yours): I mean, who knew qubit, quark, and branes were legit? To me, cosmic means amazing. To her, it describes whole other galaxies.

She looks normal enough. On the tiny side, and pale. Straight, blonde hair. Two serious gray eyes. One nose, one mouth; two arms, two legs. She wears the same stuff other girls wear but is more into the kind of comics and movies I like. But come on ... I mean, get this: she can't wait till the physics conference starts. What's that got to do with us, says stupid me. Aren't you going to do their camps for kids? she asks, with this look of surprise. My mother -- always lurking at the worst possible moment -- immediately signed me up. Why didn't I keep my mouth shut?

Two seconds later, Audrey had left, my mother was back inside, and I was left sitting there, stunned by science, on my own front steps. It didn't help when Liam came whistling up our walk. "You're awfully cheerful," I said in a sour voice, "for someone who's spending the summer studying physics."

"Oh, but I won't be," said Liam with a grin. "I've got a plan."

Liam looked around cautiously before continuing. "A protest will do it. I'll just convince everyone they need the fair more than they need physics."

This sounded promising. "How?"

"With my powers of persuasion, I can do anything," boasted Liam. "It occurred to me: these scientists -- they have no right to bring in their 'cutting-edge' ideas to 'improve' our lives." If Liam's sneer weren't so funny, it'd be scary. "All we know is what they tell us: the good stuff, the promises. Who knows what risks -- and there's always a risk with technology -- they're hiding? Who are they to force our children to suffer the studying? Somebody's got to protect our innocent citizenry from the pitfalls of progress," he continued. "And who better than me? I live here, I know the hearts and minds of the people, I have the ability. I'll need some help from the kiddy contingent, of course -- that's where you come in."

Let the "kiddy" comment go, I told myself ... he could be my way out of a sad situation. "Depends on what you need me to do. And it's got to be undercover, okay?" No way was I letting Audrey find out.

"Check the morning paper," Liam said, opening the door and heading in. "And remember, I'll be at the baseball diamond tomorrow to interview your team about the big tournament. Just follow my lead."

Meet the Author

Cora Lee is the author of The Great Number Rumble: A Story of Math in Surprising Places. She also writes science articles for kids. She lives in Vancouver.

Steve Rolston is an award-winning comic book and graphic novel artist. He lives in Vancouver.

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