Why Do Elephants Need the Sun?

32p. 978-0-80759-081-2.
Gr 2—5—Wells presents such concepts as photosynthesis, gravity, nuclear fusion, and the sun's effect on weather conditions in an appealing, easy-to-understand format. Pen and acrylic cartoon illustrations and simple diagrams strongly support and enhance the text. Information is factual and up-to-date (Pluto is not included with the solar system diagram) and covers the purposes and uses of the sun over the years, from telling time to generating electricity. By using the elephant to relate the level of importance the sun plays in the lives of all living things, Wells has found a unique way to teach some otherwise difficult concepts. Some readers might stumble over science terms such as "nuclear fusion," "electromagnetic energy," "photosphere," etc., although they are explained in both text and illustrations. The book concludes with 10 comic-strip-style panels of "Did You Know?" interesting facts. Overall, this is an excellent resource for budding young scientists.—Cathie Bashaw Morton, Millbrook Central School District, NY
Lively, cartoonish pen-and-ink illustrations (including some scientific diagrams) and a brief text attempt to explain how animals on Earth use the sun. The scientific vocabulary is a little challenging for the audience to which the art seems aimed; a glossary and pronunciation guide would be helpful. Nevertheless, for precocious science-loving youngsters, this is a solid choice.

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