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4.1 out of 5 stars
Adventures with a Microscope
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126 of 128 people found the following review helpful
on February 11, 1999
Format: Paperback
Microscopes in toy stores haven't really changed much with time. There are better-quality models now available, but the box still usually contains the 'scope and a few dozen glass slides of blood, insect parts, and such. Rarely are the directions enough to keep a child's interest in microscopy alive for more than a few weeks, at best. This book offers a guided tour of the microscopic world, in the form of 59 "adventures" which range from the kitchen to backyard pond or shoreline. More than instructions on how to capture a fly and examine its feet, the adventure includes a discussion of how the fly can walk on the ceiling. The microscope, then, becomes one gateway to rich discoveries in nature study. If there is a problem with this book, it is its age. This is a reprinted version of the 1941 edition. Many of the supplies recommended "for your laboratory table" are no longer easily available, while some are now considered hazardous. The fly mentioned earlier is to be killed with chloroform, for example. There are safer alternatives available, but the reader will have to do some further research. Nonetheless, it's a stimulating book, charmingly illustrated with many line drawings. The language is at times too difficult for younger readers, but a parent/child team of adventurers will find it useful.
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35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on April 24, 2009
Format: Paperback
While it's true that this book was written a long time ago and many of the chemicals will no longer be sold to children, it still teaches science to children the way it should be. I'd recommend this text over any of the recent efforts that compromise the science for political correctness.

Furthermore, the author does not talk down to his audience. Adults reading along and helping their children will be just as engaged and informed. Scientific terminology is used in the book but it's explained very well. Since it's written for the intelligent reader however, it's only explained once.

Headstrom's insightful observations are as relevant now as they were when they were written, and this should provide a sound basis for further study and exploration for the inquiring mind. The constant use of puns and the style of writing comes from a time when the world was a different place, however this adds to the charm of the book. 142 line drawings are used throughout.

I'd highly recommend this book to adults and children of any age taking their first steps in microscopy. I'd also recommend that adults do not give a child a microscope without a copy of this book.

Subjects covered include protozoa, algae, diatoms, desmids, flowers, insects, spiders, common food items, mosses molds and lichens, higher invertebrates, blood, and forensic subjects such as fibers, hair and fingerprints.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
someone has given you a microscope for your birthday or Christmas or some other gift giving day. You have examined it, gone to the pantry after looking at the prepared slides that came with your gift and taken samples of what is available there, then gone out into the kitchen, maybe the bathroom. taken dust samples from other rooms and looked at all of them. You were impressed with what you saw but in most cases that is all it was, impressed, you did not know what you had seen. Now it is time for Headstrom's book, this is the only place where it earns the five stars I have given it. You need to know where to go to get samples, you need to know how to draw those samples, and you need to know what you are looking at in these samples. Headstrom's book does this for many things.
There is a caveat connected with all this. The book is old and even when new it needed an additional book to go along with it. The book is written for amateures and gives the parts of a microscope and lists a number of supplies to go with the microscope. Where does one get these supplies? Some can be procured from the manufacturer of the scope but most can not. Some are obsolete, some are unobtainable and some have been replaced by more modern equivalents. Catalogs from scientific supply houses may supply the answer, thus they they become a necessary adjunct to Headstrom's book. However this does not detract from his purpose, a little bit of taxonomy, a little bit of origins, and a lot of information. One of the big faults in his book is his lack of specifying the magnification necessary to be used when viewing the specimens. Even better would be a digression into the uses of different magnifications and what each is useful for in viewing the specimen. There are a lot of books out there, there may be one with this information. If so, anyone who knows of such, please let me know as well as others seeking this information.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on December 26, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This a good book for a beginner to have. The projects are well explained and easy to understand. The book is written at a middle school level. My 9 year old and I read a project each night. The introduction to the evolution of the microscope was very interesting. There is a complete list of things you should have as a science kit. That list was written years ago, now-a-days, if my daughter took this science kit to school, the school would be placed on lock down and she would be sent away to a juvenile detention center.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 29, 2014
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This book was a gift to my grandson who is nine. His Mom is a teacher and reviewed the book after they received it. She said it is an excellent companion to the microscope which he received for a Christmas gift. It is practical and worthwhile for using the gift.
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on September 19, 2014
Format: Paperback
The book is dated, both in style and in content. That doesn't make it worthless, but it does qualify a lot of the technical information - of which there's actually not much. It entirely predates digital imaging, for example, and digital USB microscopes are quite common now. Most of the book consists of a series of vignettes describing interesting subjects for microscopic observation, with most if not all containing a nice line drawing illustrating what to expect.
In my opinion, I'd pass over this, whether for self-instruction, or for a child. Perhaps after learning more about how to USE the microscope correctly, but I'm not convinced that there's really enough information to obtain and identify most of the specimens described herein. I much prefer Nachtigall's "Exploring with the Microscope..." as a serious book on how to use a microscope. I also think, for a typical child, web resources (and parental interaction) are more suitable than Headstrom's text.
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on December 7, 2013
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
I am still reading it but it was the book I was looking for as other reviewers noted it was written a long time ago and is dated in some respects, but the information on the things under the microscope is what I wanted to know and that has not changed. I wish someone would update it with pictures but it is still a valuable reference for any one interested in microscopes it also gives you a lot of ideas on what to look for or at.
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on July 20, 2014
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I just got a new microscope and this is a good companion for ideas on what to begin looking at to get confidence using the microscope. A little outdated on some of the materials but the ideas are good.
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on June 11, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Perfect for use by 10 year old with first microscope. Gave to grandchild who immediately started experimenting and doing some of the projects outlined in the book.
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on August 22, 2014
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
My 11 yr. old granddaughter has a very nice microscope and this gave her further incentives to use it.
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