“Get to know your universe!” is the tagline for a new science book series aimed at ages 9 -13. I read the first two books: Coral Reefs: Cities of the Ocean by Maris Wicks and Dinosaurs: Fossils and Feathers by MK Reed and Joe Flood. What makes these books stand out? They’re in comic book form.
The world of comic books (AKA graphic novels) have been expanding past pure entertainment for years. Introducing Shakespeare, inventions, and computer science are some recent examples. People, especially kids, are drawn to bright and engaging visuals, and these new books are just that. But well-done visuals are only useful if the information is good. Luckily, these books are filled with up-to-date science presented in a logical way. I had them with me while at my homeschooling group and several of the kids picked them up to see what they were about. “I liked it!”said one girl after reading Dinosaurs.
Dinosaurs tells its story through the individual people who have been fascinated with fossils throughout history: from Mary Anning of England in the early 1800s with her influential, but uncredited work on fossils, to the “Bone Wars” between Othniel Marsh and Edward Drinker Cope in America, to modern scientists like Dr. Anusuya Chinsamy-Turan who studies bone density to tell the age of dinosaurs.
Along the way, there are facts about when, how, and where different dinosaurs lived around the world. The names of the dinosaurs explain a lot about the dinosaur itself or the people who first discovered them. The meteor theory of why so many dinosaurs died out at the same time is presented as the clues came together over time. Evolution of dinosaurs into our present-day birds is also told through the curious scientists throughout the years. As a parent of a child who was obsessed with dinosaurs, I can appreciate a good book on the topic (we slogged through many poorly written ones over the years). This is one of the good ones.
Reading Coral Reefs is a jump into the science of life with the classification system, and how coral reefs fit in. (In case you are wondering, they are animals with a symbiotic relationship with zooxanthellae, a microscopic algae.) A cute goby fish with glasses is the narrator, taking the reader through the colorful world of not just coral, but all the life that lives within and around it. I was amazed at how much information is packed into this book! Maris Wicks illustrated this underwater world adorably well, but also with a ton of humor: most pages have thought bubbles from the various creatures that are really amusing (I liked the Disco Clam…).
But the book goes even further than just presenting the world of coral reefs, it also explains why this ecosystem is important, not just for the ocean, but all of earth, and humans. I appreciate how environmental science and care of our world is woven right in. Taking care of our planet shouldn’t be a sidebar or tag at the end, but a part of all science education. Coral Reefs does a very good job of it.
GeekMom received copies of these books for review purposes.