A RAY OF LIGHT by Walter Wick
Kirkus Star

A RAY OF LIGHT

by ; photographed by
Age Range: 6 - 12
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KIRKUS REVIEW

An exploration of the workings and gifts of light.

Matter can be solid, liquid, or gas—but what about light? “What is it made of? How does it fit alongside everything else in the world?” Light is energy, and Wick’s photographs—huge, glossy, and crystal clear—glow with it. On the first spread, a shaft of light, a beaker of water, and some rocks appear almost mystical. Next, a close-up of a candle with its wick aflame is downright hypnotic; across from it, a sequence of small photos show a match striking a rock and flaring up. Later, another progression shows three incandescent sources—candle, bulb, sun—each in turn lighting a teacup-saucer-spoon arrangement that never varies in placement, effectively demonstrating how lighting alters color. The text examines incandescence, iridescence, refraction, the relationship between light waves and colors, pigments, magnification, heat, fire, and the sun—always clearly and in concert with spellbinding photographs. The radiant illustrations show color spectrums, light shining through and across various objects, almost-magic tricks of light, and demonstrations of light waves that use water as a visible symbol. Scrupulously, Wick acknowledges that photographs in books “cannot fully capture the purity and intensity of color that’s observed directly by the human eye”—but these will enrapture even readers too young to fully comprehend the science. A meticulous, adult-directed author’s note elaborating on the principles covered will help caregivers answer curious children’s further questions.

A love story to light and color, both educational and visually stunning. (Informational picture book. 6-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 26th, 2019
ISBN: 978-0-439-16587-7
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: Scholastic
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 2018




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