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Einstein and friendsDK Guide to the Human Body by Richard Walker 64pp Dorling KindersleyIllustrated Dinosaur Encyclopedia by David Burnie 224pp KingfisherLife Finds its Feet by Jacqui Bailey 32pp AC BlackDead Famous Albert Einstein and his Inflatable Universe by Mike Goldsmith 192pp ScholasticMega Bites Bugs by Chris Maynard 96pp Dorling KindersleyMaterials by Alastair Smith Philip Clarke Corinne Henderson 64pp UsborneOne of my vivid memories as a parent was the day that my daughter first looked through a microscope and discovered a world beyond the limits of unaided vision Her expressions of bewilderment revelation and then sheer pleasure encapsulated what science is really about It can give us a means to satisfy our curiosity and explore our surroundings whatever the consequences of the technologies it spawns it can be empoweringWhy then are science subjects declining in popularity in schools and universities Perhaps there are just not enough opportunities for experiencing first-hand the pleasure of personal discoveries that will sustain pupils through years of assimilating scientific facts and educational testing Without some level of participation science ceases to be something that is individually fulfilling and becomes a service provided by experts Science books for the young can foster participation not just with inspirational graphics and accessible text but also by stimulating curiosity-driven personal exploration So how does this years crop of shortlisted titles for the Aventis Junior Prize for Science Books for under-14s measure upDorling Kindersley has a reputation for lavishly illustrated reference books and Richard Walkers DK Guide to the Human Body is a visual treat Combining graphics with scanning electron micrographs X-rays and false-colour images from medical scanning technologies it takes readers on a journey through the inner workings of the body Its lovely to look at and the universal accessibility of the subject matter guarantees personal involvement One problem with the imagery is that there is often little sense of relative scale Kidneys are pictured on a smaller scale than their components bacteria many
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