From School Library Journal
Grade 1-5-Bang has chosen a huge topic, and in some ways, it overwhelms her. Writing in the voice of the sun, the first-person narrative investigates various forms of energy on Earth, all derived in one way or another from the light and heat of this solar system's major star. It's an enormous task-how to describe the weather cycle, dams, turbines, electricity and its generation, windmills, fossil fuels (she mentions coal but leaves out oil), and solar cells in an illustrated book for fairly young children-and Bang is only moderately successful. Indeed, in the introduction to four pages of much denser end matter, the author mentions that her notes started turning into an encyclopedia, but, mercifully, an editor "cut them WAY back. Now those notes are on my Web site at www.mollybang.com, and I hope interested readers will do further research on their own." Overall, the author makes a valiant stab, and for science-minded children who can absorb a large amount of information, this title could be an interesting selection. Her stunning and technically accomplished illustrations, as always, are radiant and worth a look. Despite its shortcomings, this ambitious book is an illuminating auxiliary purchase.-Dona Ratterree, New York City Public Schools
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*Starred Review* Gr. 1-3. A typical science text for kids might define light as "shifting electromagnetic fields." In Bang's outstanding new picture-book exploration of light and energy, electromagnetism is mentioned only in the endnote, and the accessible text, narrated by the sun ("I am your sun, a golden star. You see my radiance as light"), will be far more meaningful for children than one with stock definitions. Bang focuses on four scenarios in which the generation of electricity can be traced back to the sun: a hydroelectric dam, wind turbines, a coal-burning plant, and solar cells. Making the connection between light, water, wind, and electricity requires a conceptual leap, but tiny yellow dots representing the sun's power as it streams from one form to another will help children grasp the principle of energy conservation. Bang's strong design sense comes through in compositions that gracefully incorporate diagrams and strike a balance between graphic forms and delicate, decorative patterns. Particularly notable is a jungle landscape reminiscent of Rousseau that will delight kids with its individually rendered, jewel-like foliage. Careful endnotes, not final in the version reviewed, touch on everything from dark matter to atoms to pollution. A lovely and illuminating book that presents sound science while expressing the wonder of flipping a switch and flooding a room with light. Jennifer Mattson
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