Gr 2-4-Oversimplified introductions to atoms, elements, and the water cycle. Patten's writing is reminiscent of classroom lessons without creativity. Protons, neutrons, and electrons are not mentioned in the discussion of Atoms, and, in Elements, the discussion of the periodic table appears opposite a photo of a cat, with the caption, "Many different elements join together in special ways to make all living and nonliving things." The typeface in all three titles is big and bold, and one or more full-color photos appear on each double-page spread. Unfortunately, they often have little to do with the concepts under discussion. In Liquid, a photo of five girls in what looks like Halloween costumes is accompanied by the caption, "Children make good scientists because they ask a lot of questions." The text on the opposite page introduces evaporation and condensation. Each book has an adequate five-to-eight word glossary, but the indexes are often inaccurate and misleading. For example, lead, aluminum, copper, etc., are indexed, but are merely mentioned in the text as being "members of the atoms family.'' Better alternatives are Experiments with Chemistry and Experiments with Water (Childrens, both 1988), both of which not only explain atoms, molecules, water, etc., but also provide simple experiments to demonstrate the concepts. Olga Kumarets, New York Public Library
Copyright 1996 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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