Hooray for DNA!: How a Bear and a Bug Are a Lot Like Us

Knopf. Apr. 2023. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780593427040.
Gr 1-3–Catchy rhymes and colorful illustrations combine to make a complicated scientific topic more accessible for young readers. Opening with the statement “DNA is the ABC/ of what makes you, you/ and what makes me, me,” the book progresses through a series of (mostly) animals with which we share DNA, while young children of varying skin tones are shown in a classroom setting creating their own pictures to go along with the text. Children are also shown building structures out of four colors of LEGO bricks (to represent four proteins), an effective use of a familiar example to explain a complicated subject. Most of the rhymes track, but a few, such as “You, me, a bug, and even a virus, have shared DNA hidden inside us” seem a bit forced. Some terms are not defined and will require further explanation by adults, and a statement such as “And the whole wacky lot of us?/ Part hippopotamus!” is simplistic and might confuse some children. Even so, the book is still an enjoyable romp. Includes back matter, a “search the web” DNA scavenger hunt, and a list of books, videos, and websites for further exploration.
VERDICT A fun introduction to DNA that will certainly pique the curiosity of future scientists.

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