By Terry Catasús Jennings
Illustrated by Andrea Gabriel
Arbordale Publishing (2016)
Reviewed by Anna Dogole - October 17, 2016
Wow! Magnetic Magic is a fantastically entertaining and edify book that will delight readers of all ages.
Magnetic Magic is a multipurpose book that is designed to both entertain and to educated children. In this case the focus of the book is on magnetism, and the story follows Dena as she uses her scientific knowledge about magnets and magnetism to perform magic tricks for the younger kids. In the process of telling Dena's story, the author, Terry Catasús Jennings teaches the reader the basics of magnetism in a way that all elementary school children, from kindergarten on up, will understand. In addition, the reader also learns a little bit about how a compass works, what the magnetic pole is and why it moves, as well as gaining an introduction to navigating using a map and compass. For a picture book that is only 32 pages long, this book contains a lot of information!
All this information is presented in the guise of a lively story in which Dena also learns a lesson about the importance of truthfulness! Over the course of the story Dena performs four different magic tricks that demonstrate various properties of magnetism - and instructions on how to do these 'tricks' yourself are provided at the end of the book. In addition to directions on how to perform these tricks, the text also includes two educational resources, one on magnets and the other on map skills. As well, the publisher also offers additional resources such as quizzes and teaching activities that aligned with the text. These resources are located online at http://arbordalepublishing.com. (The links for these resources are located toward the bottom of the homepage.)
The basic text of Magnetic Magic is further enhanced by the inclusion of charming, colorful illustrations that bring the story to life created by Andrea Gabriel. The story features a multi-racial/ethnic mix of boys and girls, as do the illustrations, helping to make this story inclusive for readers from every segment of society. Best of all, all the scientific information in this book has been checked for accuracy, and the book is available in a variety of formats as well as in both English and Spanish editions.
The Lexile Level for this book is AD 560L. The AD means that this book is designed for 'Adult Directed' reading, i.e., it is a picture book designed to be read to a child. However, strong readers will enjoy reading this book on their own. They just might need help on occasion deciphering unfamiliar words and terms. Best of all, adults will enjoy the book as a well, and they might not only learn a thing or two about magnetism, but also how to perform some really neat magic tricks!
Pandas' Earthquake Escape, by Phyllis J. Perry.
When an earthquake devastating their panda sanctuary, LiLing and her cub Tengfei are forced to flee. This educational children's picture book teaches kids about both earthquakes and pandas, and it provides educational activities for further study.
Julie the Rockhound, by Gail Langer Karwoski.
When Julie finds a crystal behind her house, her dad teaches her all about quartz crystals and starting Julie on her quest to become a full-fledge rockhound. For kids in grades K-4.
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