A stylish-looking compilation of physics facts.
Stuart and Abadía have created a visually striking book of trivia around the general topic of physics, touching on a few other sciences along the way. The oversized (over 13 inches tall) volume categorizes the information into four main topics: “Physics,” “Sound,” “Light and Color,” and “Space.” The information in each topic is summarized in a short paragraph with vocabulary-building words set in bold, as are the names of scientists mentioned. Unfortunately, after the table of contents, there is no additional tool to help readers (or rereaders) find a topic—there is no index, glossary, or phonetic pronunciation guide. Readers who encounter tantalizing facts (there are “planets where it rains diamonds”? Diplodocus whipped “its tail so quickly that it created a cannonlike boom”?) will look for a bibliography, further resources, or notes in vain. Abadía’s illustrations, a combination of graphite, wax, ink, and digital color, do little to expand on the text. The look is decidedly retro and features elements that may be foreign to young readers: Such images as a rotary phone, a cabinet-style TV with rabbit ears, and a gramophone create a feeling of distance from modern science. Of the many humans depicted, most are white-presenting. The book may be of slight interest to trivia-seeking readers but will provide little help for anyone who wants to do serious digging.
A swift but insufficiently substantive tour of the topic. (Nonfiction. 8-12)