“You’ll discover mouthless worms and walking ferns … ” (pg. 13) And with those words, I’m charged up for the hunt. Along the way, I can’t help being distracted by a satisfying amount of irresistible information in National Geographic’s Science Encyclopedia.
If you learn best visually, there is a surfeit of images to stimulate a curious mind. If you learn best verbally, then this book is chock full of words arranged in the most interesting ways. And the photos! This is National Geographic, after all.
The book is so visual that information leaps into the reader’s brain. Colorful text boxes help the eye and mind focus.
You’ll find page-long introductions to the various sections on matter, energy, forces and machines, electronics, the universe, life on Earth, planet Earth, and the human body. The way I approach these is to look at all of the photos in the section, read the text boxes, and then go back to read the introductions because by that time I would need to know everything on this subject.
Each double-page spread (and sometimes a single page) includes “Try This!” for practical, do-at-home-with-supplies-on-hand experiments, “Personality Plus” featuring a small, true, biographical tidbit about someone important in that field, “LOL!” a riddle pertaining to the subject (!), and a “Geek Out!” fact with which you can amaze your friends and draw new friends into your geek circle.
One set of pages features a timeline: Amazing Science! Milestones, Atom Smashing. The earliest entry from 1897 is “Englishman J.J. Thompson discovers the first subatomic particle, the electron, using a gas-filled tube that creates a glowing beam.” The latest entry is “2012−2015, in which the Large Hadron Collector “accelerates protons to just below the speed of light and smashes them together.” (pgs 22–23)
The way the pages of this timeline are laid out helps the reader focus and absorb information. It’s not a straight line with words on tick-points. Oh, no! It’s a vibrant, image-filled, double-paged spread of completely cool tidbits. A timeline to get excited about!
Everything about this book is a launchpad for further investigation.
I grew up believing that I didn’t like science. What a nut! How can you not like this stuff?
The Science Encyclopedia is such an exciting presentation of information that it belongs in every household, whether or not there are children in said house.
Don’t have any children? Buy yourself a copy of this book.
Then, buy a copy for each elementary school and middle school where you live. This book is that good. You’ll be charging up the curiosity of young minds for years to come.
Atom Smashing, Food Chemistry, Animals, Space, and More
National Geographic. 2016
ISBN 978–1426325427, $24.99