A broad sampler of STEAM-related topics and areas.
Five cartoon icons representing the titular “team” usher younger readers through a series of loosely related single-spread surveys, beginning with the universe and solar system and ending with the internet and robots. In between they touch on our planet’s weather and (changing) climate, simple machines, bridges, arithmetic, the human brain, and 25 other select subjects. The presentation barrages younger readers with basic snippets of fact, printed in various type sizes and weights. They can usually be read in any order as they are all fitted into a brightly colored jumble of digitally painted elements and cutout photos. Human figures are rare but, where large enough to tell, are racially diverse. Though there is only one obvious misprint (“Light travels nearly 6 million miles (10 trillion km) a year”), the sheer range of topics here makes hope of finding any of them treated systematically chimerical. So it is, for instance, that “ordinal” numbers are defined but not “cardinal” ones, only three of the four common states of matter make the cut, and senses beyond the traditional five are ignored beyond repeated mentions that they exist. Also, aside from the occasional suggestion to paint a rainbow or a toucan’s beak, STEAM’s “A” (for “Art”) is largely along for the ride, and along with a lack of leads to further information about any of the contents, the backmatter’s closing glossary and index are, at best, inadequate.
Does help to clarify a trendy pedagogical concept, but in a catch-as-catch-can manner. (Nonfiction. 7-9)