Book review: This Book Thinks You’re A Scientist

By Louise Fox

Thames and Hudson, August 2016, ISBN 987-0-50-06508-13, £8.95, Paperback

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a child, excited by science for the first time again? Well now you can with the science museum’s newest release ‘This Book Thinks You’re A Scientist’. The interactive book explores seven key scientific areas, including force and motion, electricity and magnetism, earth and space, light, matter, sound, and mathematics.

Through a series of creatively and quirkily illustrated prompts, readers are encouraged to engage in their own hands-on experiments and explore science by questioning everything. It’s a great way for your children to spend the afternoon, out in the sun, experimenting on things you probably never thought they would: creating a new robot language, taking instant photographs with their eyes, making water freeze in seconds and styling their hair with static electricity – easy, fun experiments that can be done anywhere.

To prove this, the E&T writers decided to test a couple of the experiments out and you’d be surprised how easily pleased they are this book can definitely be for adults too! Seeing grown men and women getting excited by the idea of frozen fizzy drinks in the hot weather can really make your day. It’s actually really easy to do as well. The carbon dioxide in fizzy drinks makes them pretty hard to freeze properly, but freeze one for around two hours before unscrewing the lid and the carbon dioxide will escape, and without the gas, the liquid freezes – cue instant fizzy slushy!

It was the little experiments that seemed to make our writers the happiest, estimating how many umbrellas it would take to keep the 305ft tall Statue of Liberty dry from a rainstorm, or how many elephants we could fit into the IET building comes as a welcome distraction from the world of work. There are these so many more experiments like them in this book. It’s pretty basic science, but each page also has a ‘how it works’ box, explaining how the science behind the fun experiments – perfect for children looking for something to do but also for parents wanting to engage restless minds over the summer holidays.

Similar to Keri Smith’s ‘Wreck This Journal’, the book invites you to rip out pages and challenges you to complete tasks based around science before explaining how they works, applying fun activities to real-life situations. Each section focuses on an open-ended question or activity, with space on the page to write, draw or interact with the book before recording findings. While the book itself is aimed at children, the experiments are things that could be fun for the whole family this summer.

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