Saturday, 11 April 2015

BOOK REVIEWS

Contributor:  Dr Gillian Dite, PhD (Epidemiology), PGrad Dip Arts (Editing & Communications) Freelance Editor, http://www.gilliandite.com.au/


Zobi and the Zoox

Ailsa Wild, Aviva Reed, Briony Barr and Dr Gregory Crocetti 


The Squid, the Vibrio and the Moon

Ailsa Wild, Aviva Reed and Dr Gregory Crocetti


To instil young children with a long-lasting interest in science, they need to be inspired rather than bombarded with seemingly useless facts. Two books, Zobi and the Zoox and The Squid, the Vibrio and the Moon, use a storytelling approach to teach children about science. Both books introduce the concept of symbiosis by demonstrating how different organisms – small and large – can work together for mutual benefit.

A striking feature of the books is the stunning illustrations that feature on every page and bring the characters in the stories to life. The watercolour images are rich in colour and detail, but most importantly, they are scientifically accurate. The illustrations complement the content of the story perfectly and encourage lingering on the page to absorb the beauty and detail.

Zobi and the Zoox is the tale of a single polyp living on a coral reef made up of thousands of identical polyps. The balance of the organisms living in and around the polyp is upset by a change in water temperature. This threatens the existence of the polyp if the organisms living inside the polyp cannot respond to restore the balance.

The Squid, the Vibrio and the Moon begins with the journey of bacteria into a squid’s stomach where food is plentiful. In return, the bacteria provide biochemical reactions to remove oxygen and they generate luminescence to protect the squid from predators. The second part of the story follows the journey of the squid and the dangers he faces after hatching.

The two stories are written in a style that will engage young readers. The stories are told from the perspectives of the organisms, all of whom have names, voices and feelings. In telling the stories, the writing team are not afraid to use scientific terms and have ensured the scientific accuracy of the organisms and processes they describe. The books begin with descriptions of the characters in the story and give a sense of their scale, from the molecular through to the galactic.

For older readers, the back of the books have an excellent glossary and explanation of the science behind the story. The explanations relate directly to characters and events in the story and because they are based on the real world, will pique the interest of curious minds.

Both books are recommended for ages 5 years and over (reading with an adult) or age 8 years and over (reading alone).

Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars