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16 of 22 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars An Answer Book????, February 13, 2011
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This review is from: National Geographic Answer Book: Fast Facts About Our World (Hardcover)
National Geographic Answer Book: Fast Facts About Our World
Correct information is a primary concern in an "Answer Book", even when the answers are fast facts. From this point of view, the book is not as good as the advertisement would have us believe; the book might be useful, but be ready to check the answers using other sources. A few examples.

Picture (photograph) on page 310: "Charles Lindbergh lands at Croydon Airport, London, completing his historic transatlantic one-man flight on April 20, 1927 ......." (Croydon Airport?? April 20 1927???).

The TRUE FACTS: Lindbergh started his one-man transatlantic flight taking off from Roosevelt Field, Long Island, New York at 7:52am on MAY 20, 1927. He landed his plane (Spirit of St. Louis) at the Le Bourget Airdrome, Paris, France at 10:22pm (Paris time) on May 21, 1927.

"How does a flower work?" See picture of the PARTS OF A FLOWER on page 139:
the ovules are indicated as egg cells. Again, this is not a true fact: the ovule is a complex multicellular structure containing one egg cell.

The short description of plant responses to light signals (p.139) is on the short side and, as it is, does not tell the complete story; perhaps, photoperiodism should have been mentioned in addition to phototropism; and it would also have been nice to mention that there are other plant hormones
(gibberellins, cytokinis, etc) in addition to auxins.

All considered, one cannot give more than one star to this book, and if used to satisfy children's curiosity, the parents should make sure of confirming the information using other sources.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 7, 2011 4:11:58 PM PDT
jakub says:
Thanks especially for specific examples of erroneous or incomplete information. I almost bought it for my grandchildren. A pity the "Inside the Book" doesn't work.

Posted on Jan 6, 2014 11:31:22 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 6, 2014 6:06:09 PM PST
Twins Daddy says:
Congratulations! You've achieved the "Most Helpful Critical Review" of this book with your ridiculous 1-star review. Do you know what 1-star out of 5-stars denotes? A WORTHLESS product...Something completely USELESS. Remarkably you reached the conclusion that this book is utterly worthless based on ONLY 3 things out of some "10,001 fast facts" contained within it...Really???

Your review also resulted in this comment: "Thanks especially for specific examples of erroneous or incomplete information. I almost bought it for my grandchildren." So YOUR RECKLESSNESS robbed who knows how many children out of an extremely informative and well-done reference book that my children actually ENJOY reading. They are basically reading a condensed encyclopedia, but don't even realize it because it is so WELL DONE!

1) Yes, the Lindbergh photo caption is incorrect. What you fail to realize is the OVERALL MESSAGE IS ADEQUATELY CONVEYED to the reader...Namely, that Charles Lindbergh DID complete "his historic transatlantic one-man flight" and became "a world hero". Obviously a ONE SENTENCE CAPTION is insufficient information for preparing an essay or research paper on Charles Lindbergh, which should include MULTIPLE sources in the first place. A young reader with no clue who Charles Lindbergh was might actually be stimulated by this photo & caption to find out more about this world hero...Once that happens, the incorrect caption becomes MEANINGLESS but its positive effect has been realized.

2) You have a problem with a diagram on p.139 because "the ovules are indicated as egg cells". Well, I'm sure you're aware this is not a Botany 101 textbook. This book was "designed for enjoyable browsing", unlike a textbook. Second, the diagram does NOT "indicate" that the ovules are in fact egg cells. What it shows is this: ovules (egg cells) ------>, as in the ovules are WHERE the egg cells are located. I'm sure most individuals, except you, would view this diagram and accurately conclude WHERE the egg cells are contained in this flower.

"The egg cell lies deep in the female parts of the flower, within the ovule." http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v426/n6963/fig_tab/426132b_F1.html

"Within the ovule the egg cell is produced..." http://plantdev.bio.wzw.tum.de/index.php?id=58

"Ovule literally means "small egg."" http://ovule.askdefine.com/

Considering ovule literally translates into "small egg" and the diagram points out where the ovules (egg cells) are located on the flower, your petty objection has no merit. If they simply drew "ovules ---->" and separately drew "egg cells ---->"...Then guess what? They would end in the SAME EXACT SPOT on this particular diagram because that's WHERE the ovules AND egg cells are located...Get it?

3) Finally, your third problem is: "The short description of plant responses to light signals (p.139) is on the short side and, as it is, does not tell the complete story; perhaps, photoperiodism should have been mentioned in addition to phototropism..."

How on Earth did you get all the way to page 139 without understanding the PURPOSE of this book? The 1/2 page section titled, "WHAT IS PHOTOTROPISM?" is SUPPOSED to be on the short side, considering you are reading a FAST FACTS BOOK! And if they DID include photoperiodism, then you would have complained, "why did they include photoperiodism in a section called 'what is phototropism?'"

In fact, WHY would a section that describes plant MOVEMENT towards light even contain anything concerning plant responses to TIME PERIODS of light that often control blooming, seed germination, dormancy, etc...The two concepts aren't even DIRECTLY related! Just because this section didn't contain something YOU wanted it to contain does not make it factually incorrect. It just means you're whining about something that nobody else on Earth would even think twice about. It also means you couldn't find ANYTHING ELSE that was a factual error in this expansive publication...

Also, the book states, "Plant hormones called auxins trigger cellular changes and swelling inside the plant, causing it to move toward the light." According to this publication (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130528105946.htm):

"This helped the scientists prove for the first time that the hormone auxin definitely is the substance that drives phototropism."

You complain that auxin is the only plant hormone mentioned...But that's EXACTLY the plant hormone that needs to be included to explain phototropism, which is EXACTLY what the section is about! Ironically, your complaint actually PROVES the factual accuracy of including auxins to explain phototropism and how it is hormonal-based. You also fail to mention that skototropism and heliotropism are also defined for the reader in this brief section.

Most books, including textbooks, contain errors that are sometimes factual, not just typos. That's one reason there are periodic revisions to correct and update material. The fact that you condemn this book to the WORTHLESS pile based on 3 objections to 10,001 facts is an indication of how petty you are or that you have an axe to grind with someone involved with its production. Do you even realize that the Lindbergh error is the only TRUE error you based your 1-star review on and, by default, the book contains 10,000 "correct facts" out of 10,001 (a 99.99% accuracy rate)?

I simply can't comprehend someone being so petty as to give this book a 1-star review just based on a single incorrect photo caption. It defies all logic in the known universe...

In any event, your unsupported and irresponsible 1-star review has influenced many others and unjustly steered them away from a book that could have benefited many other children...And you deserve to be called out for it. I have nothing to do with National Geographic or any of the authors and I certainly don't have the free time to put into a defense of this book that I just did...But you need to understand WHO WROTE THIS BOOK AND WHY:

"WHEN NASA ASTRONAUT Kathryn Thornton viewed Earth for the first time from space, she expected to see a weary planet showing signs of distress. What she saw was something very different -- something alive and well and thriving. "My image of a fragile Earth," writes Thornton in the foreward to this book, "was replaced with the image of a living, breathing, powerful Earth." And that very image of our world, teeming with life and energy and progress, shows through in page after vivid page of National Geographic's Answer Book."

This remarkable book was conceived through INSPIRATION and created with a DEDICATION to share this planet and its wonders with inquiring minds through a meaningful, yet interesting presentation. Most people who have read it or purchased it for children would agree that it SUCCEEDED.

Then you come along...And because of a SINGLE incorrect photo caption and the fact that it doesn't spend more than a few pages on Botany, you "cannot give more than one star to this book..." That is the definition of pettiness...Look it up.

The REAL WORLD impact you've had here since February 13, 2011 has resulted in countless numbers of children being robbed of this book who otherwise would have found it in their hands. I'm sure that's something that makes you feel good inside, doesn't it?
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