Paleja presents a formal yet friendly tour of energy: where it comes from, how we use it, and who’s using it how.
This “visual exploration of energy” is a smartly dressed one, graphics artfully assembled, beckoning, and thoughtful. If Tse’s artwork kindles a steady interest in the proceedings, Paleja’s text keeps readers’ brains in a steady, kinetic state. He has a knack for simplifying complex processes, although now and then it comes up short: for instance, he draws a clear picture of some consequences of climate change but not how that change threatens animal species or how it harms human safety. Generally, the text is an incitement to learn more. How is it that energy is neither created nor destroyed? How do you split an atom, and why is there so much energy inside such a really little thing? None of this is obvious, and the illustrations and the text work in tandem to address the whole issue of how things work—energy: the ability to do work—and how energy’s use can have ethical considerations. Such choices as immediate gratification vs. respect for future generations are ever present, if mostly on a subliminal level. Paleja and Tse make readers want to think about these questions, not dread the encounter with thorny topics.
An inviting introduction to energy, its nature and indispensability, and the baggage it trails in its wake. (Nonfiction. 9-12)