Books by Steve Tomecek

MOON by Steve Tomecek
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 1, 2005

The latest in the Jump Into Science series is another thumbs up for the author as well as for future space walkers. Tomecek explains the major misconceptions and confusing actions of our moon in easy-to-understand language coupled with an adorable cat and lightning bug that illustrate the concepts. What is the moon made of? What causes the "man in the moon" illusion? Why does the moon seem to change shape? The answers to these questions will change the way young readers gaze up at the sky, and make them want to leave their footprints on the moon just as Neil Armstrong did back in 1969. A follow-up activity will have experimenters dropping differently sized pebbles into a pan of flour to model the way that craters form the dark spots we see on the moon's surface. The vibrantly colored illustrations are simply detailed in order to focus the reader's attention. A great in-depth look at how the moon's features formed and a starting place to understanding the changing shape of the moon. (Nonfiction. 5-9)Read full book review >
STARS by Steve Tomecek
CHILDREN'S
Released: March 1, 2003

The latest in the Jump Into Science series is a sure winner for future astronomers and their stargazing parents. Tomecek (Dirt, 2002, etc.) and newcomer Yoshikawa make an excellent duo in rendering concepts understandable to young readers. In simple language, Tomecek presents the major facts about the stars in our sky. For example: why they seem to disappear when the sky is bright, how far away they are, why some are brighter than others, and why it looks like the stars travel around the earth each day. Young readers are given enough to whet their appetites, especially when it comes to the constellations. A flashlight activity at the end helps children understand the idea that the farther away a star is, the dimmer it will appear to us here on Earth. Yoshikawa has personalized the reader's journey through the sky by providing a guide: a young boy and his canine companion. Although the boy spends a considerable amount of time looking puzzled, and the dog amazed, together with the vivid colors and detailed borders, they draw children in and focus their attention on the concepts. Two drawbacks: the diagram of distances from the earth to several stars is not even close to scale (noted in the text), and the page detailing constellations in the southern hemisphere is printed upside down—a neat idea, but rather annoying to readers. Overall a solid foundation for future astronomy studies. (Nonfiction. 4-8)Read full book review >
DIRT by Steve Tomecek
by Steve Tomecek, illustrated by Nancy Woodman
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 1, 2002

Lots of neat facts and easy-to-read explanations about dirt (or soil, as the scientists prefer) can be found in this Jump Into Science title for young readers. For example, "Just one square foot of good forest soil can be home to as many as 300,000 different living things." And "Around the world, soil scientists have discovered more than 100,000 different types of soil!" While the text is compelling throughout, the illustrations, with an elaborately costumed, energetic mole and a host of other creatures diving in and out of the soil, can be distracting. Sand (2000), another title illustrated by Woodman, used photographs and art to dramatic effect; this one uses pen and watercolor drawings exclusively. It's hard to make painted dirt look like the real thing. But for the intended audience, those likely to be playing in the topic themselves, there's plenty to think about and they're sure to look more closely (for earthworms, roots, and even dead leaves) as they consider that "dirt made your dinner." Instructions for making and exploring a soil ecosystem in a bottle complete the picture. (Nonfiction. 4-8)Read full book review >