Spark, Shine, Glow!: What a Light Show

Greenwillow. May 2023. 40p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780062457110.
K-Gr 3–Rhyming text and colorful illustrations explore different types of light as well as its various scientific properties. Familiar light sources—sun, flashlights, fireworks—are paired with more unusual ones, such as bioluminescent sea creatures and the aurora borealis, to demonstrate the range found in the world. “Light is energy,” an organizing principle of the book, is supported by examples, with varying degrees of success. Topics like natural versus artificial light are simply explained, while passages such as “Prisms and raindrops/ both refract light/ which helps form rainbows—/ an optical delight!” is a lot for children to unpack. The book’s greatest strengths are in the questions it will prompt. Three girls and three boys of varying ethnicities (and one blue-green bear) form the cast of characters. Pair with Lights Day and Night by Susan Hughes for a more in-depth investigation. Includes a glossary of terms and author’s note.
VERDICT The attempt to put complex topics into simple text sometimes results in confusing organization and stilted rhymes, while charming illustrations greatly enhance the appeal for children.

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