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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Scary Science, written by Shar Levine and Leslie Johnstone and illustrated by Ashley Spires. Scholastic, 2010. $6.99 ages 8 and up

"Strange...but true!
Scientists in Sweden have discovered a
type of 'zombie worm' that lives off the
bones of dead whales. They have given
the creature the exotic name of Osedax
mucofloris, which loosely translates as
"bone-eating snot flower". The name is a
pretty accurate description, as these tiny
worms look like mucous-covered flowers
poking out from the whale bones."

The books that I have told you about for this Halloween have been for the little ones. Next to their birthday and Christmas, Halloween holds great delight. For older kids, the appeal is the bag of candy and goodies that they can collect, and perhaps a bit of a challenge to find a costume that allows for some playacting. In Scary Science, readers will find twenty-five 'creepy experiments' to try in celebration of this spooky, spectacular time of year. It is written for older readers who are inspired by science and its many facets.

They are warned to follow the directions exactly...even that in itself is enough to encourage attempts at some of the experiments described. Adults are encouraged to be part of the fun...supervising while also learning some basic scientific principles that they may have long forgotten, or never known. We begin with shrunken heads, using apples, carving tools and some patience to see the end result. The salty water draws water from the apple by osmosis, leaving the salt to preserve the apple. Simple, huh? And easily explained.

Each experiment is detailed with needed items, the method and the explanation for what happened. A 'strange...but true' box gives additional information for most pages. The table of contents entices with such titles as 'alien barf bag', 'exploding stomach', 'ghost legs', 'spooky writing'. The glossary offers simple definitions for unfamiliar language. The cartoon illustrations add just the right touch, especially the front cover. Now, there's an invitation to come inside and see what's cooking!

Great fun for all, and another way to celebrate this spooktacular time of year!

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