Junk in Space

Richard Maurer, Author Simon & Schuster $14.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-671-67768-8
Dolphins have shown themselves able not only to understand individual words but to distinguish the order of words as well; honeybees are capable of telling one another, through a peculiar ``dance,'' about objects that may be out of their sight--thus demonstrating such human attributes as memory; gorillas have used sign language to express abstract concepts and emotions. With admirably lucid text and an abundance of photographs, Signs of the Apes, Songs of the Whales offers a provocative look at these and other instances in which the gap between human and animal language seems to be bridged. The authors' informative discussion is never intimidatingly technical or dense; best of all, it demonstrates that they take young readers' curiosity and intelligence seriously. These qualities are shared by the other titles in this series, spinoffs of the public TV show Nova . Peak Performance looks at the current state of sports science and medicine, using examples of contemporary athletes' training regimens, injuries and rehabilitations to bring to life such ideas as weight-training, arthroscopic surgery and anaerobic exercise. In Junk in Space , the debris left by various cosmic explorations offers an unusual lens through which to examine man's history in space; author Maurer is particularly adept at providing helpful analogies for hard-to-picture concepts and quantities. And The City Kid's Field Guide suggests many ways that urban dwellers can observe and appreciate wildlife under the unlikeliest of circumstances; even the lowly cockroach can be a fitting and rewarding subject for investigation. One need not be an aspiring scientist to become hooked on the stimulating, sometimes offbeat information contained in this well-executed series. Ages 8-up. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 08/01/1989
Release date: 08/01/1989
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