Books by Robert Gardner

HEALTH
Released: Feb. 1, 2002

Experiments in this title in the "Health Science Projects," series deal with weight, food, and nutrition. Most experiments require adult assistance or supervision, a basic understanding of chemistry, and access to precise measuring tools as well as potentially poisonous substances, all of which will limit the usefulness of the title for home science enthusiasts. The author of many award-winning science-project books begins with safety rules, and then provides experiments to test foods for carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and vitamin C, discusses nutritional information provided on consumer products, investigates digestion and enzymes, and explores the relationship between food, weight, and diet. Some experiments seem unlikely to give useful results under the conditions described. For example, measuring the energy stored in a single corn puff, he has the experimenter burn one half of a corn puff to heat 150 g. of water contained in a juice can. He indicates a calorie is the amount of heat required to raise one gram of water 1 degree C. To raise 150 g. of water 1 degree C, would require that the half corn puff contain 150 calories. Unlikely! The experimenter would also need a thermometer sensitive enough to record a single degree change in temperature. And would need to control other variables, for example the heat given off by the igniting device, heat lost to the air and to the metal container. Most useful are sections dealing with food labels and consumer awareness. (suppliers, further reading, Web sites, index) (Nonfiction. 12-14)Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY
Released: Feb. 1, 1993

A sturdily documented history of blacks in pro baseball, from Reconstruction to the dissolution of the Negro American League in 1960. Gathering information from published material, plus scrapbooks and resources of the Baseball Hall of Fame library, the authors describe—with rare and welcome specificity—the growth and decline of black teams and organizations, the Negro Leagues' exciting, characteristic style of play, and the effects of segregation and prejudice on the players' daily lives. Combining league games with relentless barnstorming, black teams showed talent at least equial to their white counterparts, and often generated more income; Gardner and Shortelle suggest that Branch Rickey was driven as much by financial and legal motives as by conscience when he signed Jackie Robinson. Individual careers are'nt detailed, but there are surprises: unknown Bill Foster pitched more league victories than Satchel Paige; at least two players hit more (league) home runs than Josh Gibson. Well-founded, frank, and coherent; clearer than Cooper's Playing America's Game (p. 58). B&w photos; bibliography; end notes; index. (Nonfiction. 11-14) Read full book review >
LIGHT by Robert Gardner
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: Feb. 1, 1992

In the ``Investigate and Discover'' series, experiments covering the fundamental properties of light: reflection, refraction, diffraction, color, and the behavior of simple lenses. The experiments call for both simple everyday items and specialized materials (convex lenses, diffraction gratings) available from specialty suppliers (list included). Instructions are given for the construction of a homemade light box to provide the light sources used in several experiments; historical notes give some information on the scientists who made early discoveries and formulated the first theories of light. A very uneven offering from a veteran author (credited with over 30 books for young people), with too-few drawings that are not only clumsy and imprecise but don't always match the text- -which ranges from insights into everyday experiences with light to excessive terseness that fails to clarify, much less motivate. Dependence on the Socratic method is also excessive. The chapter on color unsuccessfully attempts to explain color addition and subtraction with b&w drawings; an eight-page color insert contains photos that are often irrelevent, perplexing, or badly captioned. This is touted as ``A Franklin Institute Science Museum Book,'' but the museum's participation was apparently limited to being a source of information. A book that would have been worth doing right. Index. (Nonfiction. 11+) Read full book review >