Color Uncovered e-book review

color uncovered menu Color Uncovered e book reviewLike any good discovery museum exhibit, the San Francisco Exploratorium‘s Color Uncovered interactive e-book (2011) invites users to experiment for themselves as they learn about color. The relationship between color and light waves, humans’ and animals’ perception of color, color blending, and complementary colors are just a few of the seventeen color-related topics covered in this well-designed nonfiction offering.

In keeping with the Exploratorium’s philosophy that “having fun is an important part of the [learning] process,” the text is casual and humorous in tone, frequently highlighting facts that are bizarre or downright (delightfully) gross. A section entitled “How Is Monet Like a Honeybee?” explains that, due to cataract surgery removing the lens from one eye, Monet could see unfiltered ultraviolet light — unlike most humans, but similar to bees. An image of a yellow Downy Cinquefoil flower as viewed with normal human sight is contrasted with one in UV light, revealing the neon shades that bees perceive. “Color to Dye For” discusses the prevalence of carmine dye (made from cochineal insects) in modern products and the popularity of “mummy brown” pigment (made from — you guessed it! — actual mummies) among nineteenth-century painters.

Video and activities enhance the engaging text and crisp (brightly colored, of course) visuals. In the “Shades of Meaning” section, short videos demonstrate the wide range of emotional and cultural associations with colors. Interactive opportunities mostly explore with various optical illusions and tricks of vision related to our perception of color. Each activity is accompanied by information explaining “What’s Going On.” A few activities require supplies (e.g., a blank piece of paper, a CD case) that users are likely to have at home, but may preclude experimenting on the go. Navigation through the e-book’s various chapters is easy, with a table of contents and a menu accessible from every screen.

blue square Color Uncovered e book review

Although the brief articles emphasize breadth of information rather than depth, and seem rather arbitrarily organized, Color Uncovered provides a solid introduction to color and its properties. The e-book may prompt users to research further (or to visit the Exploratorium).

More color information and activities are available on the staff picks page of the Exploratorium’s website.

Available for iPad (requires iOS 4.3 or later); free.

For more nonfiction science apps for intermediate users, see “Apps for young scientists” in the September 2013 issue of Notes from the Horn Book.

share save 171 16 Color Uncovered e book review
Katie Bircher About Katie Bircher

Katie Bircher, assistant editor at The Horn Book, Inc., is a former bookseller and holds an MA in children's literature from Simmons College.

Comment Policy:
  1. Be respectful, and do not attack the author or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  2. Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  3. Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through (though some comments with links to multiple URLs are held for spam-check moderation by the system). If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.

We accept clean XHTML in comments, but don't overdo it and please limit the number of links submitted in your comment. For more info, see the full Terms of Use.

Speak Your Mind

*