Space-suited science guide Astro Cat leads a tour of physics, from molecules to the multiverse.
The itinerary is broad but wanders all over the map. With Astro Mouse as sidekick and cameos from a supporting cast of animals and famous scientists, the fulsome feline begins with a description of how gravity works. The tour goes on with only occasional stabs at a logical order to cover the scientific method, a select few units of measurement, atomic structure, the periodic table, states of matter (the three classical ones, anyway), Newton’s laws of motion, light, electricity, quarks, dark energy, and a bagful of other topics. Similarly, the blocks of narrative and Newman’s retro-style cartoon figures are pieced together in assemblages of neatly rectilinear but hard-to-follow segments on the large, square pages. As explainers Walliman and Newman are anything but cool cats (atoms are “crazy small!”). If the language sometimes ventures into problematic territory—“Gravity is smaller on the Moon”; “The little 2 [in E=mc2] means you have to times everything by the speed of light twice”—at least their enthusiasm for exploring our “Strange Universe” comes through warmly enough to be contagious. A closing spread of miscellaneous “Factoroids” closes with an oratorical signoff: “KNOWLEDGE AWAITS!”
Readers may pick up a few “factoroids” along the way, but more systematic tours are available for the booking. (glossary/index) (Informational picture book. 9-11)