Monday, May 10, 2010

Review of Newton and Me

With the release of Newton and Me I was hoping to find an elementary science book written as an engaging story but, unfortunately, I was disappointed. The book is about a boy and his dog, Newton, discovering various forces in their daily lives, forces first described by Isaac Newton.

The difficulty I have with this book is that the reading and concept levels do not match. I very much promote and encourage introducing science concepts at a young age; however, the basic story and rhyming text, appealing to preschool through first grade, does not introduce any concepts they do not readily realize naturally, and yet this same age group would have a hard time understanding the concepts presented in the "For Creative Minds" section, like friction, or pushing something "twice as hard." (This is available as a free download from Sylvan Dell.)

The colorful yet simple illustrations are well matched to the text and theme. Some of the concepts presented are things like: a ball rolls easier on a sidewalk than on the grass; when it is thrown into the air always comes down; a toy truck stays stationary on level ground yet rolls on a hill, and others. Many of the activities in the "For Creative Minds" section are cross-curricular relating mostly to language development.

Sylvan Dell has long struggled to publish non-nature science story books for elementary-aged children.  Based on how few titles actually fit that description from any publisher, it must be a tough genre. I am still holding out hope that they will publish better offerings in this area.

 This review is also available on

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