As we continue to explore our summer reading list, we come to one of my favorites, filled with amazing information. Speaking of which, I think it's pretty safe to say we are spoiled when it comes to information. Wondering why the sky is blue? Google it. Want to know who first suggested the existence of the Higgs Boson? Type in www.Wikipedia.com. If you have access to a computer, tablet, smart phone, or some combination there of, questions like these are answered quickly, and there in lies the problem.
The information highway has put many of us on auto pilot, myself included. If I have a question, I look it up. Rarely do I sit and think through the problem, I mean what's the point if I can find the right answer in under a second? Wonder, curiosity, and most importantly, imagination that's what. While technology definetly has its place and use value (who could deny that) wonder has an immense beauty all of its own. You can see it in the spirited debate over how our moon came to be, in the discovery of why the sky is blue, or in the invetigations of why we dream.
I think it suffices to say, we (again, myself included) have gotten a bit lazy. And it's not just us, it's kids too. I see it all the time, simple curiosity derailed by instant, technological gratification. And it's no ones fault, it's just the times. But I think it might also be time, for a little reminder of just how fun it can be to investigate gravity, how stars form, and why there is so much green on this beautiful planet of ours!
That's where this lovely book comes in. Meet my new best book buddy, The Where, The Why, and The How: 75 Artists Illustrate Wondrous Mysteries of Science, by Jenny Volvovski, Julia Rothman and Matt Lamothe. These fine curiosity enthusiasts came together with two main themes in mind, what is there still left to wonder about, and how do we make everyone else want to figure it out too? The answer is a delightful combination of art and science.
The authors took over 50 scientific questions without concrete answers and paired them up with artists who's work corresponded well with each subject matter. The result is two-fold. On the one page is clear concise information from renowned scientists, physicists, biologists, geologists (you name the "ist" and it's in there), while on the facing page is an artist's rendition of the subject matter at hand.
The copy keeps with the modern trend of brevity, yet remains relevant and interesting. Some of the topics addressed are a bit heady, and do contain some rather complicated vocabulary, but nothing that does not deserve a moment of explanation to growing minds. Alongside each inquiry is a thoughtful and well curated piece of artwork that really brings the subject matter to life. Be forewarned though, some of the subject matter is a bit mature for those under 10 years of age, so parents and guardians need to look through and decide what pages to include and which to leave for a later date.
Overall this is a wonderful summer read for parents and kids alike to dive into and get curious about. Some of my favorite entries include: Why do honey bees dance? Why is the world so green? What is Earth's hum? And How are stars born, and how do they die?
To sum it up, this is the kind of book you can spend hours with, if not for the information and art work, but for the wonder, the curiosity, and the conversations the entries inspire. Also the pictures will help the more visual learners out there really grab on to each topic. I can't remember where I first heard this, but it feels especially true for this book... it's not the answers that we find that matter most, it's the questions we ask along the way.
P.S. Once you've had a peak through the book, keep the wonder going by challenging your kiddos to draw their own descriptions of their favorite topics or vice versa. Or see what questions they come up with on their own along with visuals. Or better still, turn the whole thing into a game of telephone pictionary!
P.P.S. Check back after noon today to see the winner of the This Moose Belongs to Me book giveaway!
* Last time in Books and Stories: This Moose Belongs to Me Giveaway!