Books by Angela Wilkes

MY FIRST GREEN BOOK by Angela Wilkes
Released: Oct. 1, 1991

More flash than substance, this striking oversize book gives brief information on recycling and conservation and provides step-by-step pictorial directions for simple air- and water- pollution experiments that, unfortunately, often fail to demonstrate their hypotheses. A seven-day study of air pollution, for example, appears to show that pollution decreases with the length of exposure—the opposite of the author's intent. In an experiment on ``acid rain,'' three plants are watered with different vinegar solutions; after five days the one given the ``stronger acid'' [sic] is dead. Conclusion: ``Acid rain has the same effect on plants as water and vinegar mixed together, but it is weaker and works more slowly''—but the experiment hasn't shown either that rain is acidic or that the weaker solutions are harmful. A conservation kit in the eye-catching color photos exhibits little care for the environment in its use of highly colored plastics. It's never too soon to learn about conservation, but young environmentalists will do better to look elsewhere for ideas on how to save the earth. (Nonfiction. 8-10) Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 10, 1990

A visually striking, oversize book containing poorly executed science experiments intended for young children. Each double-page spread includes a catchy heading, the "aim" for the experiment, equipment needed, step-by-step directions in color photos and text, an explanation, and a photo depicting results. Unfortunately, the experiments often do little to elucidate scientific method or concepts. For example, the aim for "Magic Balloons," an experiment in static electricity, is to "find out how to give balloons powers that seem magical." Some explanations are too brief to explicate the idea: after making a layered "cocktail" with honey, oil, and water and then dropping small objects into it, Wilkes concludes that "Objects float best in dense liquids, as these support their weight best"; but while the photo shows one object floating in each layer, she never points out that the different densities of a grape and a metal object also account for their positions. Pretty pictures, poor science. Read full book review >