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A Really Short History of Nearly Everything Hardcover – October 27, 2009
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Bryson offers a kid-friendly version of his popular-science compendium for adults, A Short History of Nearly Everything (2003), in this illustrated trip through, well, nearly everything. His enthusiasm is apparent right from the foreword, where he proclaims that “there isn’t anything in existence—not a thing—that isn’t amazing and interesting when you look into it.” He proceeds to back up this statement as he whirls through mind-numbing notions such as the creation of the universe and the life-span of an atom with good cheer and accessible, even exciting, writing. The two-page spreads meander their way through the various recesses of science with a combination of explanatory prose, historical anecdotes, wry asides, and illustrations that range from helpful to comical. Absent are source notes to back up Bryson’s many claims (or any other back matter aside from an index, photo credits, and a list of Bryson’s adult books). That isn’t to say he shouldn’t be trusted, but readers should take this for what it is: irreverent and illuminating edutainment, good for the science-phobic and -centric alike. Grades 5-8. --Ian Chipman
"Brims with strange and amazing facts . . . destined to become a modern classic of science writing."
-"The New York Times"
Top customer reviews
Our family is using the book as a "jumping off" point for my son's sixth grade science while in home school. He reads a spread and then hits the internet to research some key idea that has caught his fancy. He's been able to use some of the things he's learned in the book to connect to other content areas, too. For example, he commented that Greenland would probably be warmer if the Atlantic Ocean's salinity wasn't so high (He was thorough in his explanation, but it was quite involved for the purposes of this review).
I would highly recommend the book. It's got high-level concepts written in the perfect language for middle-schoolers to grasp.