Book Examination Site: Book of the Week for 5/20/02

by Jim Pipe
Copper Beech

How Does a Ship Float? is one of four books in a new series called "How? What? Why?" from Copper Beech (imprint of Millbrook Press). Designed for early elementary age children, the books pose questions and suggest experiments to find the answers. Large print and colorful illustrations with cartoon bubbled conversations among the pictured children make these attractive books for early science.

There are some minor issues to be pointed out, however. On each page where one of the five experiments is described, there is a "solve the puzzle" with answers at the back of the book on page 22. However, page 22 is only mentioned on the first of the five "solve the puzzles;" will this confuse children?

On page 8 the child speaking in the first illustration says, "Let's put a tub in a bowl of water." the picture has the boy putting a rectangular container in the bowl. Is this what children would know as a "tub?" Was that word chosen because of readability - one syllable, short vowel?

The "solve the puzzle" on page 21 does not directly link to the experiment on that two-page spread while all the others do. That page deals with salt water, and the "solve the puzzle" deals with depth of water.

On page 22 in the chart for items that will float or sink, an eraser is listed. What kind of eraser is this? A chalkboard or whiteboard eraser? A pencil eraser? An artist's eraser? Should this be clearer?

The short index at end of the book is appropriate for the audience.

Reviewed by Peggy Dillner
University of Delaware

Harry Dillner
Center Science Resource Center
DE Department of Education

Other new How? What? Why? books in BES:  

Why Does Ice Melt?
Why Does It Fall Over?
What Does a Wheel Do?

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