Gr 4-8-A clever and exciting presentation that will hold the attention of even the most reluctant students. The book takes the form of a report by an alien named Skreeg 402. He has been sent on a mission to discover what makes Earth creatures different from what they were long ago, why they are different from one another, and what makes them unique. Using material from the village dump and the encyclopedias in the nearby school library, he uncovers the secret of DNA. The evidence is silly, with lots of jokes and word play, but Aronson puts it together so Skreeg comes up with the correct information in a logical order. He frequently asks questions showing the thought process and scientific methodology, and reiterates his findings, displaying how the facts fit together. The cartoons are also humorous; the diagrams are accurate and easy to understand. There is a glossary with real and made up words, which may cause some confusion. Isaac Asimov's How Did We Find Out about DNA? (Walker, 1985) and Frank Wilcox's DNA (Lerner, 1988) cover the same ground, but are not on the same road.-Martha Gordon, South Salem Library, NY
Charged by Intergalactic Intelligence with finding out "What makes Earth creatures what they are? What makes Earth creatures so different from one another? What makes Earth creatures so different from what they were?" an alien by the name of Skreeg finds himself "yarkolzing" across the universe on a mission to acquire knowledge. Putting together clues gleaned from papers in the city dump (newspapers, cereal boxes, magazine articles and ads, letters, packaging, and baseball cards) and occasionally risking forays to the nearby school library for peeks at the encyclopedia, Skreeg explains what he learns as he discovers it. Little by little, he begins to understand evolution and the key to the mysteries he is investigating: the structure and function of DNA. And, with a little luck and perseverance, readers will, too. Obviously the approach won't appeal to every kid, and there are some who will find the science heavy going, but those who take to it will find this an entertaining introduction to genetics. The colorful illustrations underscore the humor and help readers visualize the science. Given the increasing emphasis on genetics in the teaching of biology and the author's success in presenting the subject with offbeat humor, this book belongs in many libraries.