Crimebusting and Detection.
Contains Photos, Bibliography, Index
The six books in this series follow the same format with a two-page introduction, four chapters, a glossary, a list or resources for further information, and an index. They attempt to stimulate interest in science by demonstrating the impact of modern technologies on various areas of real life.
Archaeology and anthropology are described in Solving the Mysteries of the Past. One learns how to find out about sites and where to dig, common artifacts and how to determine their age, types of preserved bodies and where they’re found, and hominid evolution. A few specific finds are highlighted, but no logical chronology is followed.
In Sports Champions, the reader learns how muscles and cells work, the importance of nutrition for staying healthy, the training involved in preparation for sports competitions, and how different technologies impact an athlete’s performance. At least seven of the images appeared twice, so different images would have increased the appeal of the book.
Crimebusting and Detection will be of great interest to readers who enjoy crime shows on TV, as they will learn about some of the techniques they’ve already seen: procedures and tools involved in looking for evidence, how evidence can lead to solving the crime, and how to identify bodies of unknown individuals using fingerprints and DNA. There is also a chapter on forgery and fraud, including counterfeiting and computer scandals.
Miraculous Medicines is not just about different drugs and how they become approved for use, but includes information on medical imaging technologies like X-rays, ultrasounds, and PET scanners, machines and tools used in the emergency room, and steps taken to ensure successful surgeries. Some of the terms used could have been better explained in the text instead of relying on the glossary for clarification.
In Rescue Missions one learns about the types of missions, equipment, and technologies used by firefighters, the Coast Guard, mountain rescuers, and the people dealing with terrorist threats. Again, several images were repeated in small and then larger scale and there was a definite American slant to the content.
The content of Saving Endangered Plants and Animals is also a hot topic and will be of interest. The book talks about the human impact on Earth including the greenhouse effect, overhunting, and chemical use, and provides examples of how humans are now trying to save certain species via seed banks and re-release of animals to the wild. Several professions focused on saving wildlife are described. A couple of examples are provided about what we can do, but though there is a picture of a blue box there is no specific mention of participation in recycling programs.
The books use many images scattered among the boxes of text. There are a few bordered boxes that seem redundant, as they simply repeat the information that was just described. Only some of the books have “Examining the Facts” boxes that describe activities for the reader. These vary greatly in the amount of excitement they will generate. The crimebusting activities will be of most interest, while the sports ones didn’t sound appealing. Some of the recommended websites seem to be at a level that is too advanced for the target age. Interactive, fun websites would be of greater interest to young readers.
Despite a few shortcomings, the books offer good content in brief, easily digestible chunks. With lots of brightly coloured photographs interspersed throughout, they will hold the reader’s interest. All are recommended.