Monster Science: Could Monsters Survive (and Thrive!) in the Real World?

Monster Science: Could Monsters Survive (and Thrive!) in the Real World? illus. by Phil McAndrew. 96p. index. Kids Can. Sept. 2016. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9781771380546.
Gr 3–5—If you are seeking an in-depth, textbooklike explanation of electricity, neurons, disease, evolution, bloodsucking animals, and more, look no further. In this title, Becker uncovers the science behind the myths and legends concocted around several popular horror figures. Each subject is first placed within a historical context (for example, the chapter "Frankenstein" cites the influence of the Enlightenment on author Mary Shelley), followed by an analysis of the science associated with each story (coverage of electricity, the human nervous system, and genetic engineering accompany "Frankenstein"). Becker ends each section with a reading comprehension quiz. The recurring sidebar "Monster Facts" adds quick definitions and other tidbits. A highlight of this work is its exploration of the often symbiotic relationship between culture and science; figures such as Shelley, John Polidori (The Vampyre), and filmmaker George Romero (Night of the Living Dead) merged cultural fascination with scientific development to create truly inspiring works and further public interest in science. However, bibliographic information is absent from this volume and the science-laden text is likely to be overwhelming for younger readers.
VERDICT The connection between pop culture and science is intriguing; this title will appeal to science educators as a supplemental resource for classroom activities.

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