2016 (National Geographic)
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher
Science is the way humans figure out how everything in the world works.
Work with me on this one. Imagine Julie Andrews wearing a lab coat and breaking out in song:
Elements and sound waves and robots who rescue. Gravity and reptiles and landforms with fescue. Muscles and flowers and simple machines. These are a few of my favorite thiiiiiiiiings!
This book has it all. It starts off with a great introductory essay that talks about what is science, what scientists do, and a review of the scientific method. These two pages could be your first few days of science instruction each year. Divided into physical and life science, it's like a recipe for science nirvana. Physical science has four parts: Matter, Energy, Electronics, and Forces and Machines. Life Science has four parts as well: The Universe, Life on Earth, Planet Earth, and the Human Body. They've covered everything here. Within each section, you have two page spread covering a topic in the area. For example, in Energy we see heat, electricity, magnetism, sound waves, and other energetic subjects. Each spread has several colorful text boxes and awesome National Geographic photos. We're talking about over a thousand photos in this book! It's the textbook I never had as a kid. Other excellent features pop up throughout the book. Milestones highlights important dates within a specific area. One such milestone is Frankenstein Science which tells readers about the history of man and electricity. Yes, Benjamin Franklin and his infamous kite make an appearance as he shows that lightning is a form of electrical spark. Up Close devotes a two page spread to a featured subject such as Albert Einstein, the computer revolution, and predators and prey. There are also jokes and experiments sprinkled like dust from a comet throughout the book. After two hundred and ninety-one pages, that might be enough. But not here. In the back matter you get an impressive glossary and a list of over twenty-five websites and other helpful media.
This is the book that you want to gift your young scientist with. It's simply fantastic because that's what you expect from National Geographic and they deliver. It's a book that will be your go-to reference on scientific matters.