The Magic of Reality: How We Know What's Really True

Richard Dawkins, Author
Richard Dawkins. Free Press, $29.99 (272p) ISBN 9781439192818
Reviewed on: 09/26/2011
Release date: 10/01/2011
In this outstanding "graphic science book," evolutionary biologist Dawkins (The Selfish Gene) teams up with illustrator Dave McKean (The Graveyard Book) to examine questions in everyday science, such as: why seasons occur; what things are made of; and whether there's life on other planets. They explain the answers from mythological and cultural points of view before diving into the chemistry, biology, and physics—all in language that advanced middle school, or most high school, students can absorb. Rather than oversimplifying things, Dawkins's explanations demonstrate that life on earth is magical enough without tricks of the eye or supernatural theories. Appearing on every page, McKean's illustrations cover the gamut from prehistoric creatures along the evolutionary chain to a sequence showing how the immune system defends the body from a flu virus. This book may be exactly what's needed to increase science literacy for readers of all ages. (Oct.)