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This is a good book for kids of all ages. I have grandson 12 yrs. old and he thought it was a great book. There are many questions that he asked me over the years and I always tried to give him the correct answers however there were times that I was not satisfied with the answers I gave. This book explained the answers in a way that was easy to follow and understand.
I enjoyed reading this book with my grandson and we both learned some new things.
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Recently, my daughter bought "Big Book of Why" for her eleven-years-old daughters. Fortunately, before my granddaughters started reading this book, I had the opportunity to leaf through it, and I was appalled. I have PhD degree in chemical engineering, and a fairly solid knowledge of astronomy and Earth science, so I concentrated on the Earth and Space sections. Here is my assessment. The author seems to be lacking basic understanding of the above mentioned subjects. Both the Earth and the Space sections are riddled with errors. Many answers are either erroneous, misleading, incomplete or incomprehensible. (I have not read the rest of the book and I do not intend to.) To give the potential buyers an idea, I will list a few examples. Question "Why does the moon appear to change its shape?" is answered as follows: "As the moon orbits Earth each month, Earth blocks sunlight from hitting the moon at different angles. As that happens, different portions of the moon are in shadow." This is pure nonsense, as any five grader would know. "Why can't we see air? is explained as follows: "That's because Earth atmosphere is made of several gases including oxygen, water vapor and carbon dioxide. The molecules of these gases don't absorb light that our eyes can see, so air is invisible to us." Apart from the absurdity of this reply, one wonders whether the author is aware that 79% of air is nitrogen, while it contains only traces of water vapor and carbon dioxide. Some more examples: diamond is called "rock" while chloride and sodium are called "minerals". The temperature of sun spots is given as 3,227 degrees C, while the stratosphere is located at 48.28 km - 80.47 km above the Earth surface (didn't the author learn about rounding off in grade 4?). These are just a few examples out of many.Read more ›
I had high hopes for this book as a successor to our well-thumbed copy of Macaulay's "The Way Things Work." As luck would have it, the first question I randomly flipped open was "Why does a basketball bounce?" Well, "Inflated basket balls have a lot of stored energy," we're informed. Sigh. While it's certainly true that inflated basket balls do have "a lot of potential energy (in bold letters)" that is irrelevant here.
It might be cute to hear my kids running around announcing Important Facts, but I'd prefer to teach them what's really going on. Skip it.
I bought this book for my 6 year old and she absolutely loves it. It has so many interesting facts and she can stay entertained for hours with this book. My 9 year old even has fun reading it, you will not be dissapointed.
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