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Customer reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars

When I was a child, I was drawn to books of science fact. I can only wish Seymour Simon had been publishing his excellent science-oriented books for young readers back when I was growing up. Science is just so fascinating that I have trouble understanding any child's reluctance to embrace it, especially when there are wonderful little books such as The Dinosaur Is the Biggest Animal That Ever Lived and Other Wrong Ideas You Thought Were True (how's that for a lengthy title?). Expose a child to this type of reading material, and you will do much to encourage the young scholar within him or her.
Books such as this provide youngsters with a great way to stump their parents; how exciting it must be for a precocious child to actually teach his/her parents a fact every now and again. This is a good thing, for it only enriches the learning opportunity available to the youngster. Parents should not be afraid to admit they don't have an encyclopedic knowledge of everything. When a child asks a question a parent can't answer, that parent is provided with a golden opportunity to share the fun of learning directly with the child.
This book features some 29 short and illustrated chapters, each one based on a common science question and the wrong answer that has somehow established itself in the public consciousness. Of course, by the time one becomes an adult, he/she has usually learned that the blue whale of today is actually much larger than the largest of dinosaurs, that the sky generally appears blue because of light refraction, that sharks can indeed attack in shallow water, that chocolate doesn't give you pimples, that lightning can indeed strike the same place twice, etc. Still, an adult can also learn from the knowledge contained in this book - I certainly did. I now know, for instance, that quicksand is actually twice as buoyant as water and that a person can literally float on his/her back and push or pull his way to safety. I was also rather amazed to learn that there are over one million earthquakes (the vast majority of them quite insignificant) each year across the globe, which equates to two earthquakes per minute.
There is no real order to the topics here, but of course each one deals with a scientific fact and popular misconception. The illustrations by Giulio Maestro do much to increase the appeal of the book, and Simon's text is a great fit for the curiosity and intellect of young minds.
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