Friday, May 30, 2014
Gravity, written and illustrated by Jason Chin. A Neal Porter Book, Roaring Brook Press, Macmillan. Raincoast, 2014. $ 18.99 ages 4 and up
AWAY FROM THE
Luckily, Jason Chin writes remarkable books for children and their adults! In his newest book, after tackling Redwoods, Coral Reefs and Island: A Story of the Galapagos, he has turned his attention to helping us learn about gravity. The gorgeous cover painting provides an alluring invitation to step inside.
The book opens to a gull and a book with a fully open page and the single word GRAVITY. As the page turns, we see an ocean beach and take note that the book appears to be flying. The book falls to the ground and lands near a young, caped, space-loving boy who is surprised by its sudden appearance. The author goes on to explain what would happen if there were no gravity...and to show us!
So much might happen without the pull of gravity. Chaos would reign on earth and in space, as earthly things would just float away from the earth's surface. Even the moon and the sun would drift! In a quick turn of events, we are made acutely aware of what does happen because of gravity. Alas, life does not exactly return to its former self! But, the results are pretty humorous.
It is a bit scary thinking about gravity not holding us in its grip. In just a few sentences Jason Chin is able to teach a solid science lesson for even our youngest readers. To keep that lesson both entertaining and informative he creates an imagined world that will delight his readers, and offer up a gentle dose of humor to settle any concern they might feel.
If you know Jason's other books (and if you don't, you need to get right out there and find them), you will have a real sense for the wonder he creates in his outstanding watercolor and gouache artwork. You will be astounded at the imaginative fantasy world he weaves to help his young readers understand a tough concept. There is so much to see; you will be happy to return for a repeat read!
If you want to know even more, he accommodates with a double page spread following the main text. On these pages, he uses short paragraphs and captioned illustrations to explain more complex matters.
A boy, his toys, four girls, a lemonade stand...what an ingenious way to get kids interested in science!
Out of this world, literally!