American Heritage Children’s Science Dictionary
boards, 280 p., $17.95
As a reference publication, American Heritage Children’s Science Dictionary is meant for students in grade school, introducing them to terminology and notable individuals in the various scientific fields. Nicely illustrated with full color photographs and line drawings, the text is further enhanced by occasional descriptive profiles of individuals and interesting facts.
The editors should be congratulated for their discrete handling of the challenges of measurement. They simply state that scientists around the world use the metric system, and display conversion charts for temperature and various types of measurement. The chart on the classification of animals is well done, and the book would be improved if it included one on plants.
Unfortunately, some definitions are without a general meaning for a word; ignoring the fact that it is also applicable to others, definitions may be limited to one or two examples. Sentences are occasionally missing important qualifiers; for example, a plant such as the Gingko may be endangered in its native habitat but thrive elsewhere. Similarly, a botanical garden contains a collection of dead and living plants for study and exhibit. The text errs when it is too simplistic: for example, a savanna is not exclusive to hot, dry regions. Rather than serving as an aide to teachers, such references may create problems in the classroom.
— Marilyn K. Alaimo, garden writer and volunteer, Chicago Botanic Garden
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