Books by Sylvia A. Johnson

SHAKING THE FOUNDATION by Sylvia A. Johnson
YOUNG ADULT
Released: March 1, 2013

"A finely crafted introduction to Darwin's theories and the controversies they spawned. (photographs, maps, glossary, source notes, bibliography, suggestions for further reading, index) (Nonfiction. 12-18)"
A concise, informative overview of how Darwin's theories of natural selection and evolution shook the foundations of religious beliefs and long-held scientific views. Read full book review >
MAPPING THE WORLD by Sylvia A. Johnson
Released: Oct. 1, 1999

From the oldest maps in the world, to mapping the earth and other planets from space, Johnson (Ferrets, 1997, etc.) introduces the world of cartography using an outstanding collection of full-color period prints and contemporary photographs. Included is a map carved on a clay tablet made in 500 b.c. in Babylonia; a road map for a.d. 1200; a world map made in a.d. 1482; using information recorded by Ptolemy in a.d. 150; a sea, or portalan chart from a.d. 1489; maps of the New World made by Spanish mapmakers around a.d. 1500; and many more. Johnson discusses the first modern atlas as well as the Mercator projection, and introduces new ways of mapping using satellites and instruments for remote sensing involving radio signals, microwaves, and computer imaging. Accessible, beautiful, and informative, this is essential for most collections. (bibliography) (Nonfiction. 9-11) Read full book review >
FERRETS by Sylvia A. Johnson
ANIMALS
Released: July 1, 1997

These non-rodent relatives of the weasel, badger, and skunk, often the source of controversy over their appropriateness as house pets, are gaining in popularity, next in line to cats and dogs. Many young pet owners may be interested in finding out how to choose, feed, live with, and care for a ferret; while most of this entry in the Carolrhoda Nature Watch series is a manual for pet owners devoted to the caring and keep of domesticated ferrets, Johnson (Tomatoes, Potatoes, Corn, and Beans, p. 301, etc.) also considers its background and its historical uses as a working animal for hunting and pest control. The presentation of information is straightforward and easy to follow; full-color photographs throughout depict ferrets at work and play, including hunting for rabbits in the rubble of WW II Germany or engaging in backyard fun, such as a game of hide-and-seek or catch. A section on the black-footed ferret, a wild cousin, is also included. (glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 7-10) Read full book review >
TOMATOES, POTATOES, CORN, AND BEANS by Sylvia A. Johnson
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 1, 1997

Subtitled ``How the Foods of the Americas Changed Eating Around the World,'' this is a tedious history of the foods that originated in America and are now eaten worldwide. The subject should be fascinating but the thesis is not particularly profound: ``The exchange of foods between the Americas and the Old World improved the lives of millions. . . . Their diets were more nutritious and much more varied and interesting.'' For most readers, there is more information than they ever wanted or needed on the subject of maize, beans, peppers, peanuts, potatoes, tomatoes, chocolate, etc. Johnson (Roses Red, Violets Blue, 1991, etc.) stuffs in as many facts as possible, e.g., in describing beans—``kidney, green, black, navy, pinto, wax, and lima''—she notes that they produce ``flatulence,'' a condition known as ``windiness'' in the 1500s; ``today we commonly call it gas,'' and the discussion doesn't end there. Strictly for research, this history has a redeeming quality: the lovely 16th- and 17th-century black-and-white illustrations and archival prints reproduced from old herbals and antique books. (index, not seen, maps, notes, bibliography) (Nonfiction. 10-14) Read full book review >
NATURE
Released: Sept. 6, 1991

Eye-catching, full-color flower photos enhance this adaptation of Colors of Flowers and Insects (published in Japan in 1988). Rather like a high-school botany text, it describes reproduction in spore-producing plants, gymnosperms, and the familiar angiosperms. Specialized terms (pistil, stigma, anthocyanins) appear in bold and are defined in the glossary. Then comes the good stuff: The author describes how flowers appear colored because pigments in their petals absorb some wavelengths of visible light and reflect others, while white flowers contain air spaces that reflect light rays; the purpose of the color is to enhance pollination. Especially interesting are ultraviolet photographs showing flowers as they appear to insects, which can see light in the ultraviolet range. Difficult but fascinating for students who persevere. Scientific names of plants in the index. (Nonfiction. 12+) Read full book review >
ELEPHANT SEALS by Sylvia A. Johnson
Released: Jan. 2, 1989

The northern seals with trunk-like proboscises were nearly extinct in 1800 but now number over 100,000, with populations making their homes on the Pacific coasts of Mexico and California. In this appealing addition to the "Lerner Natural Science" series, the life cycle and habits of this unusual animal are described and illustrated with engaging full-color photographs. The photos, in fact, steal the show: a female seal "sings" to her pup so that he will be able to find her; a "superweaner," a fat young seal who has been fed by two females, flops like an "overstuffed sausage"; and male seals bellow challenges through their dangling proboscises. Read full book review >