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SLJ Series Made Simple - Reviews

Nov 25, 2015

Travel with the Great Explorers series (4 NEW TITLES)


Gr 3-6 –Bright colors and copious illustrations, along with the always-popular subject, will attract readers. … the books do contain relevant and interesting content, both about main and related topics. John Franklin includes information about survival in the Arctic, while John Cabot considers the aboriginal Beothuk people of Newfoundland. “My Explorer Journal” sidebars provide insightful discussion prompts. Illustrations include several reproductions and daguerreotypes. Lists of suggested online and print materials are well done.
VERDICT These are attractive high-interest materials for lower level readers.


Next Generation Energy series (NEW!)


Gr 5-8 –Exploring natural and human-made energy sources, this comprehensive series examines the history, use, technology, and environmental issues associated with these resources, as well as alternatives and the outlook for the future. Enlightening without being preachy, the volumes emphasize the need for sustainable energy forms, incorporating balanced perspectives and up-to-date data to better inform readers on the advantages and disadvantages of each energy source. Sidebars such as “Rewind,” “The Energy Future: You Choose,” and “Fast Forward” offer in-depth analysis, specific historical examples, and ideas to stimulate critical thinking and discussion as well as current examples, facts, and statistics that enable students to come to their own conclusions. A simple hands-on activity at the end of the books helps readers understand the concepts in a more direct way. 
VERDICT A wealth of material makes this set a solid addition to science collections.


Engineering In Action series (4 NEW TITLES!)


Gr 5-7 –The third quartet in this continuing series of introductions to engineering looks at past and present methods of sustainable agriculture and medical devices as well as how to assess surface stability and natural hazards for large structures and how materials, from ceramics to superadhesives, are studied and improved. Each volume presents a template for systematic research: defining a problem, designing and testing prototypes, and reporting on solutions (or failures). Along with quick looks at historical highlights, each author describes the training and skills required to work in associated fields, offers case studies—ongoing efforts to mechanize artichoke harvests in Sicily, for instance—and takes readers step by step through a sample design challenge.  ..overall the presentations are orderly, methodical, and (like engineering science itself) focused on practical results. 
VERDICT Solid STEM choices.


Basketball Source series (NEW)


Gr 4-6 –These slim volumes are packed with information and incorporate graphics, color photos, and bold fonts to explain the rules, history, major teams and players, and skills of the sport. Ruling the Court focuses on championship play, including March Madness and the Paralympic Games. Women and girls share the limelight; a girls’ basketball team huddled round their coach graces the cover of Full Court Press. Interspersed with photos are numerous info boxes… The authors describe passing, shooting, and rebounding, as well as defensive skills, warming up, and good sportsmanship.
VERDICT will find plenty of interesting nuggets of information in these accessible books.