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What Is a Scientist?

by Barbara Lehn
Photographed by Carol Krauss

Published by Millbrook Press, 1998
32 pages
ISBN: 0-7613-1272-2

Ages 4 - 7

A deceptively simple text explores scientific discovery in terms perfectly suited for young children. Each two-page spread pairs an easily understood statement about what scientists do on the left-hand page with a photograph on the right in which one or more children are pictured doing a child-centered experiment that reflects the concept. The children's activities are described in one or two sentences that accompany the photo. For example, the statement "A scientist notices details" is paired with a photograph of a young red-headed boy examining cut vegetables and determining that cucumbers have two sizes of seeds inside them. "A scientist draws what she sees" is paired with a photograph of a girl of Asian heritage mixing two different colored liquids and writing "The red drops beaded up inside the yellow liquid." The alternating use of female and male pronouns when referencing scientists, the inclusion of children from many different racial and ethnic backgrounds in the photographs, and the careful choice of activities that children can replicate themselves to understand accessible concepts make this a significant book that will be of interest to all who work with young children. CCBC categories: Contemporary People, Places and Events.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center


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