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Now Available! The SB&F Searchable Database of Reviews

The SB&F Advanced Search allows subscribers and registered users to search the SB&F database of reviews.  Our database contains more than 10,000 science book, film and software reviews. Users can search by the criteria of their choice to find exactly what they need.


The SB&F Reviews page is updated regularly with new reviews. See our featured reviews below. Check back often for the latest science book reviews from SB&F.

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Featured Children's Book Review

Oliver, Narelle. Tide Pool Secrets. . (Illus.) Cambridge, MA: Candlewick Press, 2017. 32pp. 2017935662. ISBN 9780763691592. C.I.P.


Rating: **

This is a beautifully illustrated lift the flap book that focuses on the hidden life within tide pools. It will be a good “read together” book for young children with an adult. Unfortunately, some of the text does not have sharp contrast with the background and there are large words, so it will be especially difficult for beginning readers to read to themselves. However, once the book has been read so the child knows what she is looking for, she can spend a fair amount of unsupervised time examining the multitude of small details in each image. These details will encourage close observations while the lifted flaps help move the individual stories along, allowing the animals to move. While individual animals on each page are not clearly linked to each other as the pages progress, there is a final cross page spread that shows all of the previous animals in the same tide pool, which is a nice touch. The last two pages then show each individual species alone and provide a bit of additional scientific information. Overall, this is a nice book likely to encourage interest in marine animals and foster excited close observations the next time the readers visit a tide pool!--Erika Iyengar, Muhlenberg College, Allentown, PA


Featured Young Adult Book Review


Moore, Kate. Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America's Shining Women. Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks, Inc., 2017. 480pp. $26.99. 2016040681. ISBN 9891492649359. Index; C.I.P.

JH, YA, C, T, GA

Rating: **

This is an exquisitely written, moving, and extremely well researched compilation of individual stories of hard working teen girls and young women and their supportive family and friends. These dial painters repeatedly dip pointed as instructed their contaminated brushes and ultimately suffered tortuously painful, disfiguring, crippling, and preventable premature deaths from radium poisoning without health insurance. It is also the sad story of heartless greed and disregard for female worker safety on the part of Radium Luminous Materials Corporation/United States Radium Corporation of Newark and Orange, N.J., Radium Dial of rural Illinois, Luminite Corporation of Newark, Waterbury Clock Company of Connecticut, and others from 1917 until 1978 when the remaining Luminous Processes studio of Ottawa was shut down and avoided most of the expensive clean up costs. There was misinformation and/or collusion on the part of some scientists, medical doctors, and dentists about the so called wonder drug.

This large volume is well organized into three parts: knowledge, power, and justice. It is illustrated with glossy black and white photographs in the center. It also has short, succinct, and manageable chapters and detailed notes, a select bibliography, and an index.

British author Moore was first introduced to the Ottawa women's stories by directing the London play called, These Shining Lives, and previous academic scholarship focused on legal and scientific topics. Moore describes the girls' daily lives and shares their perspectives using diaries, letters, court testimonies, and personal interviews with relatives. Very highly recommended for junior high and above for discussions of gender discrimination, occupational health and safety protections, industrial pollution, and workmen's compensation.--Ellen R. Paterson, State University of New York, Cortland, NY

Featured Adult Book Review

Stewart, Melissa, and Nancy Chesley. Perfect Pairs: Using Fiction & Nonfiction Picture Books to Teach Life Science, Grades 3 5. Illus.) Portland, ME: Stenhouse Publishers, 2016. 360pp. $37.33. 2016037998. ISBN 9781571109590. Index. C.I.P.

C, T

Rating: **

Melissa Stewart and Nancy Chesley make a compelling case for the integration of children’s literature and life science concepts as students actively discover more about the natural world. Unique to this book is pairing a fiction and nonfiction title to support the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) based activities and investigations predicated on a modified version of the ubiquitous 5 E model. The book consists of 6 7 lessons for each grade level. Each lesson follows a template consisting of a brief introduction to the featured books, an inquiry question entitled Wonder Statement, Learning Goals, NGSS Performance Expectations, and Tips for Preparation. The main body of the lessons centers on engaging children with the content, exploring alongside them, and encouraging them to draw logical conclusions. Teachers are provided ample support to connect the lessons with the ELA Common Core, although the authors rightly point out that the investigations are science centered, and are supported by the Language Arts. Teaching tips appear in side bars with a specific focus on vocabulary development and writing prompts for the Wonder Journal. Notably absent are well defined assessments, although opportunities abound from the content rich lessons. Appendices contain additional standards articulation and blackline master reproducibles for each lesson. The intended audience is teachers in grades 3 5 although many of the lessons could be adapted to reach students beyond the stated grade range. Teachers of life science concepts will likely find this book useful in exposing children to the wonders of nature via many excellent books.--Laverne Logan, Western Illinois University, Moline, IL