Adventures in Ethics and Science

The Free-Ride offspring are almost at the end of another school year, so we thought this would be a good time for them to think about some summer reading recommendations. Each of them chose two favorite books that have something to do with science. Below, they offer their kid-to-kid reviews.

The younger Free-Ride offspring’s recommendations:

To help calibrate these recommendations, the younger Free-Ride offspring is 8 years old and is finishing second grade.


Magic School Bus Inside Ralphie: A Book about Germs by Scholastic Books

I got this book in the book exchange my class had and I read the whole book the same day. It was really fun to read.

A kid in the story named Ralphie is sick, and his classmates want to know why.

Because this is the Magic School Bus, Ms. Frizzle takes the kids on a field trip inside Ralphie. The Magic School Bus shrinks enough that they can travel inside him to see what makes him sick.

You can learn a lot about germs in this book. Also, it teaches you that the part of blood that is a liquid is actually clear.

Ms. Frizzle is really funny. I like when Liz [an iguana, I think] throws some pepper to make Ralphie sneeze the Magic School Bus out.

I like the pictures and the words in this book. It wasn’t too hard or boring.


It’s Perfectly Normal:A Book about Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health by Robie H. Harris, illustrated by Michael Emberley

This book has lots of information about where babies come from. Kids can learn how bodies change and how people look when they grow up. The book also says it talks about sex and sexual health. It’s a pretty long book, and I haven’t read all of it yet.

Actually, I mostly read the comics in the book, not all the written parts of the chapters. There are comics that show the journey of the egg and the journey of the sperm. Besides comics, there are a lot of pictures to look at.

This isn’t really a story book, but it’s a good book for browsing. It has lots of long words like fallopian and epididymus. An older kid might sit down and read more of it at a time.

This book makes me think more about growing up, which is why I ask so many questions.

The elder Free-Ride offspring’s recommendations:

To help calibrate these recommendations, the elder Free-Ride offspring is almost 10 years old and is finishing fourth grade.


Incredible Animals! Eye-Opening Photos of Animals in Action by Play Bac Publishing

This book has a color photograph of an animal and its strange behavior on each page, with an explanation of the behavior on the side of the page.

It features lots of different kinds of animals from all over the world, like polar bears, kangaroos, tree frogs, a frigate bird, a Galapagos tortoise, and an osprey. Some of the animals I had heard of before, but there were some I didn’t know about before I read this book.

Two of my favorite pictures in this book are of a hedgehog swimming and of a mama bear growling in her cub’s face to get him to behave.

My favorite thing about this book is the beautiful pictures. A lot of them are funny, too. Also, the facts are interesting, so the book is not boring to read.

Alice in Quantumland: An Allegory of Quantum Physics by Robert Gilmore.

This is a story book about quantum physics. It’s not that much like Alice in Wonderland, which is just a tale of the imagination. Alice in Quantumland is based in people wanting to learn something (or to help other people learn something) and writing a story about it to make it easier to learn. But it’s still an interesting story.

My favorite part of the story is when Alice shrinks and then goes into the TV.

This is a chapter book with a few pictures. If you wanted to just sit down and read it, it’s probably a good book for older readers.

For younger kids, it’s a good book for a grown-up to read to you a chapter at a time before you go to bed.

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If you have a favorite science-y kids book you’d like to recommend, please tell us about it in the comments!


  1. #1 Patchi
    June 12, 2009

    Kathleen V. Kudlinski has a great set of books about science and scientists. My 3 year old received “Boy, Were We Wrong About Dinosaurs!” as a gift from his grandparents and we enjoyed it so much that I bought “Boy, Were We Wrong About the Solar System”. These are the kinds of books that show children that science is fun. They portray scientists as young people, women & men, having fun with their work. They also expose kids to the scientific method and how what you know depends on how you interpret data. Both books address how scientists reinterpret data and adapt their models to incorporate new data. Simple text and great illustrations – great for young readers or to be read to littler ones.

  2. #2 m_spark
    June 12, 2009

    20,000 leagues under the sea! (abridged version, maybe?)

  3. #3 $0.01
    June 12, 2009

    Sorry if we’ve discussed it before and I missed it, but has Elder read Flatland or Gamow’s Mr. Tompkins stories? And it’s more wordplay than actual science, both both our Younger and Elder have enjoyed The Phantom Tollbooth.
    Although we have three summer reading games to complete (public library, Half-Price Book and Borders), we are actually going to explore as much as we can this summer, starting with watching the L-CROSS launch at NASA-Ames next Wednesday. Want to join us?

  4. #4 Warren
    June 12, 2009

    The Magic School Bus shrinks enough that they can travel inside him to see what makes him sick.

    It wouldn’t by any chance be a busload of unwashed children, would it?

  5. #5 cheap supra shoes
    August 22, 2009

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