Review of Mammoth Science: The Big Ideas That Explain Our World

Mammoth Science: The Big Ideas That Explain Our World
by David Macaulay; illus. by the author
Intermediate    DK    160 pp.    g
8/20    978-1-4654-9146-6    $19.99

A unique and amusing encyclopedia of general scientific topics from master draftsman Macaulay, geared to a slightly younger audience than the author’s The Way Things Work books. Divided into five sections, the book explores topics that fall under the headings of matter, life, energy, forces, and Earth and space, all with detailed illustrations and diagrams — and all of which include woolly mammoths (and the occasional elephant shrew). As in the previous books, Macaulay uses tongue-in-cheek humor to model everything from the states of matter, to types of cells, to the properties of color and radiation. In one illustration, a number of mammoths work assembly-line-type machines representing the different functions and parts of the human digestive system. The variety of ways mammoths are employed throughout is highly entertaining and effectively lightens topics that might otherwise feel dry. A detailed index will allow young readers to jump to subjects of interest, making this a worthwhile (if quirky) addition to any reference collection.

From the January/February 2021 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Eric Carpenter
Eric Carpenter
Eric Carpenter is the school librarian at Fred A. Toomer Elementary School in Atlanta, Georgia.

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