Materials and Motion: Physical Science - 500 | Series Made Simple Fall 2010

Don’t look for extreme presentations or unusual information in this fall’s physical science line-up. A few of the series have a contemporary look but others are more dated, and they run the gamut from clear to confusing. Finding an attractive and accurate combination was this season’s challenge. There isn’t much overlap in topics and most of the series are designed for younger learners so your task will be finding what works best in your collection.

Preschool–Grade 4

BOOTHROYD, Jennifer. Attract and Repel: A Look at Magnets. map. ISBN 978-0-7613-5429-1; ISBN 978-0-7613-6300-2. LC 2009047431. ––––. Give it a Push! Give it a Pull!: A Look at Forces. ISBN 978-0-7613-5431-4; ISBN 978-0-7613-6297-5. LC 2009037698. ––––. Many Ways to Move: A Look at Motion. ISBN 978-0-7613-5434-5; ISBN 978-0-7613-6301-9. LC 2009037702. ––––. What Floats? What Sinks?: A Look at Density. ISBN 978-0-7613-5433-8; ISBN 978-0-7613-6296-8. LC 2009048347. ––––. What Holds Us to Earth?: A Look at Gravity. ISBN 978-0-7613-5430-7; ISBN 978-0-7613-6299-9. LC 2009038499. ––––. Why Do Moving Objects Slow Down?: A Look at Friction. ISBN 978-0-7613-5432-1; ISBN 978-0-7613-6298-2. LC 2009048387. ea vol: 32p. (Lightning Bolt Books: Exploring Physical Science Series). photos. further reading. glossary. index. Web sites. CIP. Lerner. 2010. PLB $25.26; ebook $18.95. K-Gr 3–Jellybean-bright backgrounds, large photographs, and brief texts will draw readers to this series. The use of questions and image choices help to make the topics relevant and interesting. Scientific terminology is accurate and understandable although at times the examples, such as “Stepping on the gas makes a car give off pollution,” are over-simplified. Occasional photos miss the mark. Attract and Repel implies that coins are magnetic. Captions closely follow the text, missing opportunities to extend content. The concluding activity is simple and clear, but the suggested websites are often too advanced for the audience.

DAWSON, Emily C. Cooking. ISBN 978-1-60753-020-6. LC 2010011113. ––––. Push and Pull. ISBN 978-1-60753-021-3. LC 2010011284. KENNEY, Karen Latchana. Energy. ISBN 978-1-60753-018-3. LC 2010011281. ––––. Magnets. ISBN 978-1-60753-019-0. LC 2010011282. MACKEN, JoAnn Early. Simple Machines. ISBN 978-1-60753-016-9. LC 2010011285. ––––. Toys. ISBN 978-1-60753-017-6. LC 2010011397. ea vol: 24p. (Everyday Science Series). photos. glossary. index. Web sites. CIP. Amicus. 2010. PLB $21.35. K-Gr 2–These well intentioned titles have colorful design features, caregiver tips, large type, and simple sentences. Naming the children shown in the photos creates a friendly tone. Each title is a collection of examples that name a science “concept” but provide no explanation. Some examples are too complex for the audience–in Simple Machines, for example, a strip-mining ramp illustrates an inclined plane. Follow-up activities and introductory suggestions which are both found at the end of the books sometimes assume advanced background knowledge and skills. Instructions for the simple experiments lack visuals. These titles require adult guidance but their small size precludes group sharing.

GREATHOUSE, Lisa. Melting and Freezing. chart. ISBN 978-1-4333-1419-3. ––––. Solids. ISBN 978-1-4333-1418-6. RICE, William B. Condensation. ISBN 978-1-4333-1415-5. ––––. Evaporation. ISBN 978-1-4333-1417-9. ––––. Gases. ISBN 978-1-4333-1416-2. ––––. Liquids. ISBN 978-1-4333-1414-8. ea vol: 32p. (Basics of Matter Series). diags. illus. photos. glossary. index. Teacher Created Materials dist. by Shell Education. 2010. pap. $8.99. LC number unavailable. Gr 2-4–This series introduces the three most common states of matter and the changes they go through. There is considerable overlap among the books. Solids, Liquids, and Gases discuss matter and its properties. Evaporation and Condensation include information on the water cycle and Melting and Freezing introduces the three states of water. Each title concludes with an activity and scientist’s biography, both of which are repeated in one other book. “Fun Facts” boxes fall far short of their title. The insets and diagrams scattered throughout do not always match the main text. Photos cover nearly three-quarters of each spread and are sometimes of low quality. Captions and labels are limited. Better options abound.

HALL, Pamela. Dig In!: Learn About Dirt. ISBN 978-1-60253-507-7. LC 2010010974. ––––. Follow It!: Learn About Shadows. ISBN 978-1-60253-508-4. LC 2010010975. ––––. Listen!: Learn About Sound. ISBN 978-1-60253-510-7. LC 2010010978. HIGGINS, Nadia. Splash!: Learn About Water. ISBN 978-1-60253-514-5. LC 2010010982. VOGEL, Julia. Let It Blow!: Learn About Air. ISBN 978-1-60253-509-1. LC 2010010976. ––––. Plug It In!: Learn About Electricity. ISBN 978-1-60253-511-4. LC 2010010979. ––––. Power Up!: Learn About Energy. ISBN 978-1-60253-512-1. LC 2010010980. ––––. Push and Pull!: Learn About Magnets. diag. ISBN 978-1-60253-513-8. LC 2010010981. ea vol: 24p. (Science Definitions Series). illus. photos. glossary. CIP. The Child’s World. 2010. PLB $22.79. K-Gr 2–Attractive and succinct, these introductions tackle big topics in a friendly way. Each one opens with short, declarative sentences that provide a poetic sensibility. For example, Soil begins, “Dig it. Plant in it… Spongy, sandy, or sticky–it’s all delightful dirt!” A final spread personalizes the topic with examples from everyday life, and an illustrated extension explains basic science, such as what dirt is made of. Large, eye-catching photos cover the recto of each spread. One small caption flaw in Push and Pull labels a hard drive as a CD/DVD player. Varying jewel-toned accents are used in headings, highlighted glossary terms, and in a sidebar on each spread. The slightly large trim size will make these good choices for group use.

MONROE, Tilda. What Do You Know About Atoms and Molecules? chart. diags. illus. reprods. ISBN 978-1-4488-0669-0. LC 2009052052. ––––. What Do You Know About Electricity? illus. ISBN 978-1-4488-0671-3. LC 2009054347. ––––. What Do You Know About Forces and Motion? ISBN 978-1-4488-0673-7. LC 2010000897. ––––. What Do You Know About Light? diag. illus. reprods. ISBN 978-1-4488-0672-0. LC 2009054450. ––––. What Do You Know About Simple Machines? illus. reprods. ISBN 978-1-4488-0674-4. LC 2010002557. ––––. What Do You Know About States of Matter? illus.ISBN 978-1-4488-0670-6. LC 2009053056. ea vol: 24p. (20 Questions: Physical Science Series). photos. glossary. index. Web sites. CIP. Rosen/PowerKids Pr. 2010. PLB $21.25. Gr 2-5–These titles present some frequently studied concepts. An opening spread introduces the topic and the remaining pages focus on one or two questions that cover the subject. The cursory answers often work, but for complicated topics such as organic compounds (Atoms and Molecules), readers will learn little. Small photos, coupled with the overall design and yellow and purple covers and interior elements, give these titles a dated look, and the captions have several mistakes. The glossaries are hit-and-miss, with “ceiling” included but not “refraction” or “plasma.” Related links are maintained at the publisher’s website.Grades 5 and Up

MORRIS, Neil. Glass. diags. ISBN 978-1-60753-065-7. LC 2009029796. ––––. Metals. charts. diags. ISBN 978-1-60753-066-4. LC 2009029797. ––––. Paper. charts. reprods. ISBN 978-1-60753-067-1. LC 2009051436. ––––. Plastics. charts. diag. reprods. ISBN 978-1-60753-068-8. LC 2009051435. ––––. Textiles. chart. diag. reprods. ISBN 978-1-60753-069-5. LC 2009051434. ––––. Wood. charts. diags. map. reprods. ISBN 978-1-60753-070-1. LC 2010001621. ea vol: 32p. (Materials That Matter Series). illus. photos. glossary. index. Web sites. CIP. Amicus. 2010. PLB $28.50. Gr 4-6–Touching on the history, variations, production processes, aesthetics, and current and future uses of everyday materials, these introductions are packed with information. Recycling is a special focus, with a full spread devoted to the topic. The clean layout includes photographs and occasional charts, graphs, and technical illustrations against a range of pastel backgrounds. Inset boxes provide further detail, interesting extras, and recycling information. These books offer easily accessible background information for report writers.The Bottom LineOn close inspection several series stand out. For the younger crowd, The Child’s World’s “Science Definitions” and Lerner’s “Lightning Bolt Books: Exploring Physical Science” are solid, appealing additions with only minor photo and caption flaws. If your patrons need easy-to-read introductions to matter, Solids from “Basics of Matter” (Teacher Created Materials) will suffice. Push and Pull is by far the strongest choice in Amicus’s “Everyday Science.” In PowerKids Press’s “20 Questions: Physical Science,” the best choices for accurate, fast-paced styles are What Do You Know AboutForces and Motion, What Do You Know AboutSimple Machines, and What Do You Know AboutStates of Matter. For older readers, Amicus’s “Materials That Matter”will update many collections nicely.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing