Wednesday, May 02, 2012

When "Ask Your Dad (or Mom)" Doesn't Work: How? by Catherine Ripley

Inquiring kids want to know!

If your child is already into the phase where every other sentence begins with Why... or How..., you are already acquainted with this stage of human development, and the old chestnut "How come the sky is blue?" is just the beginning.

Since no parent knows everything, it's good to have a handy resource like Catherine Ripley's forthcoming How?: The Most Awesome Question and Answer Book About Nature, Animals, People, Places - and You! (Owlkids, 2012) at hand for quick lookups. Ripley doesn't shy away from the hard questions, the ones that most of us have never really thought about much.

For example, "How does all the sand get to the beach?" Most of us might know that it has something to do with the breaking down of seashells (and rocky shores) and the power of the waves to move these particles along with them. But how about the corollary question, "How come wet sand makes better sandcastles?"

The outside surface of dry sand is smooth and hard, and smooth, hard things don't stick together well. But when you pour water on dry sand, it surrounds or coats each grain of sand. Because water is always trying to join up with other water, it sticks the grains of sand together. Sticky sand holds together really well, so you can sculp the sand into any shape you wish. Yay!

Okay. A little physics is always good to start the day. How about some chemistry? "How does batter turn into cake?"

The combination of eggs, gas bubbles, and heat make the change. Eggs help hold together the butter, sugar, milk, and flour. Second are the gas bubbles added though beating and from adding baking powder or baking soda When these powders mix with certain liguids, a gas called carbon dioxide is given off: result? lots of bubbles! Third, the oven's heat make the gas bubbles get bigger. It also makies the egg mixture solidify. TA-DA! Cake!

Okay, how about a bit of biology? "How do I sneeze?"

Your brain gets muscles from different parts of your body working
together to ah-choo out whatever is tickling your nose. Pollen, dust particles, or nose slime can all trigger a sneeze.

Technology? "How do computers know stuff?"

Because of people! People create the information a computer knows. And people, using a special computer language called programming, tell the computer how to do the jobs they want it to do. Some information is stored right in a computer's memory or on a CD. But if you are connected to the internet, your compugter talks with other computers to find the information you are looking for.

Organized into kid-attracting sections--Happy Birthday," "Off to the Library," Pets, Pets, Pets," "Feeling Sick," "Road Trip, " "At the Beach," and "Airport Goodbyes"--this handy helper covers a wide variety of physical and social sciences in child-friendly depth in enticingly-illustrated double-page spreads for each question, telling just enough to satisfy while leaving some further questions for those inquiring minds for whom one question leads to another. The companion book to Ripley's popular Why?: The Best Ever Question and Answer Book about Nature, Science and the World around You, (Owlkids) just available in its tenth anniversary edition, this book is a must-have for the home bookshelf or the primary classroom, good for quick consultations or for browsing by early readers who want their answers NOW!



  • Fantastic site, very interesting content, boomarked ! I 'm a community member at

    By Blogger Bean Bag Chairs, at 5:34 AM  

  • Thank you, B.B. Chairs!

    By Blogger GTC, at 8:43 AM  

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