i also want to add part of the review of similar books, the robert winston chemistry, and can you feel the force' as the comments of these reviews apply to this one too,
anyway, here's the general review that applies to all three of these books:
here's how i wish science had been taught in schools!
rather than the step by step of not totally true 'facts' of the curriculum, many of which contradict each other each year of school i was in, this books goes right to the complicated issues, and explains them simply!
also has the enthuasiasm of knowing that this is what we believe now, based on evidence, with more to potentially discover in science.......that would have been great in school too.....makes it more exciting, and gives an extra reason to learn this stuff...maybe the kid reading this will prove or disprove some of these theories, and/or develop wholly new ones...
( i can't remember the details, but i remember reading in a new scientist book that some children in one school proved that the theory behind one experiement was incorrect- eminent scientists had got it wrong all these years, and it took some children to discover the truth! (its the experiment with a glass beaker over candle(s) stood in water that scientists thought the candles went out because of lack of oxygen but actually it was proved to be something different....)
these discoveries, and experiments, (and honesty that we do not necessarily hold all the answers yet, but we're having a good go at finding them) helps make science that much more interesting, i feel.
these books are especially good for people with dyslexia learning differences, who find it easier to learn if they are given the wider picture first, rather than the step by step (especially when contradictory) approach that mainstream education has put out there.
people with this learning differences also tend to learn these easier if given practical examples, rather than learning abstract fact, and these books do this too.
also the letting us know why these theories and evidence are so useful to us also helps people with dyslexia and without dyslexia in their learning.
and i suspect that people without the learning difference dyslexia also benefit from learning this way, as this is a great way to learn (though i would think so as i have dyslexia, and was put off science in school due to the reasons outlined above). now, with my sons interest in science especially (he loves these books too), i'm really enjoying learning science now, and springboard from these books to translating other science theories into practical and put into the context wider picture ways like these books too. the books do it so well to.
another excellent quality of the book is the great pictures, which assist in understanding and memory re-call.
and the way the pictures and texts are laid out too. the layout is excellent. how many people have been put off by reams of small typed text with just a couple of diagrams? to have it beautifully laid out, so that type is spread out with many pictures illustrating, makes it a much more interesting read, so even younger children can enjoy it (well my son did even when he was younger too).
it's time for some changes to the mainstream curriculum i feel! these books prove that kids can understand these complex theories when put in an understandable, simple and practical way. later on, they can learn even more fuller details, and the complicated maths from other textbooks if they wish, but this is a much better way of learning, i feel, than teaching one thing one year, and the next year saying 'well what we told you last year wasn't exactly true because....'. this is an approach of diving in first into the wonders of science, and any higher level learning, just adds to the details, and fills in this bigger picture with the extra details.
similarly programs like 'Horizon', 'Don't Die Just Yet' 'wonder of the solar system' etc, etc, brings theories on tv in an understandable way aimed primarily at adults (tho suitable for many kids too). these books do similar in book form, though aimed primarily for kids (tho suitable for many adults too ; )