Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Review: Baby Loves Quarks and Aerospace Engineering by Ruth Spiro and Irene Chan

Baby Loves Aerospace Engineering!

Baby Loves Quarks!

This board book duo sets out to introduce the youngest readers to science vocabulary and concepts that you don't see very often in children's literature. As the publisher's description says, "Parents and caregivers may learn a thing or two, as well!"

Generally speaking, the board book audience is considered to be 0-2 years old. The illustrations are perfectly suited to this age group, with bright colors and cheery faces, not too much going on in a page. The text, however, is a bit too high. I'm all for introducing vocabulary early on, but both the concepts and sentence structure were more suited for ages 3 and up. I read them with my kids (ages 2, 3, 5, 6 and 10), and they all enjoyed the aerospace title. I asked them afterwards to re-explain what the book said, and the 6 and 10 showed that they had a pretty clear understanding. 

Nobody got the second title, though. The 5 and 6-year-olds kept asking, "But what IS a quark?", and the book didn't really explain that. They couldn't get past that frustration to really let the rest of it sink in. They did all laugh when the baby smashed his tower to pieces, however!

I think this is a good concept that just needs a little tweaking - either moving to a picture book format, or simplifying the information (and I don't know how you could simplify quarks and atoms and molecules more than this - some topics just may not work.) 

That's not to say don't buy these two. I can't imagine a better gift for the baby of a couple science geeks, for a start! You can pair them with a toy airplane or a set of building blocks, and people will think you are a genius yourself! If you are in a school or classroom where the 5-7 crowd is comfortable reading board books, the information is solid, and accessible to that age group. I'll be watching to see if Spiro and Chan come out with more titles.

***This book has been nominated for the Cybils Awards, and I am a first-round panelist in this category. There are many other panelists, and many MANY other great nominees, so a good or bad review here does not necessarily predict placement on the shortlist. 

No comments:

Post a Comment