cover image Professor I.Q. Explores the Brain

Professor I.Q. Explores the Brain

Seymour Simon, Beranek. Boyds Mills Press, $13.95 (48pp) ISBN 978-1-878093-27-1

Coaxing the reader with a common carrot (if-you-think-computers-a re-amazing-wait-til-you-see-what-your-own-brain-can-do), Simon launches into a routine description of the brain's duties followed by an introduction to neurons, glial cells and synapses. The text warms up when explaining the various regions--particularly the cortex, which, when stimulated, causes a person to ``hear a bell, or see a light'' when neither bell nor light exists. However, rather than ring bells for the reader, the book as a whole sounds a thud in its inability to connect to the reader's experience. The uninventive ``Try this'' sections, with suggestions to ``look at your head in a mirror'' or to ``memorize these words in one minute'' may lead readers to an unclimactic ``so what?'' rather than ``aha!'' While Kendrick's bright, cartoony illustrations may keep readers turning pages, his humor lacks pizzazz and his visual interpretations are sometimes obscure or disengaged from the written text. Three simple experiments meant to end the book with a bang are not sure-fire, and may fizzle if the reader experiences different results or misses the point. Still, youngsters fascinated by the inner workings of their heads may find the book stimulating as an introduction to such diverse fields as left- and right-brain theory and the study of brain waves. Ages 9-11. (Mar.)