This past week Caramel got his paws on a handful of board books from the Baby University series, written mainly by Chris Ferrie. He is a voracious reader, and these little books, written for tinier bunnies and their adults, were all read within the course of one evening. Then he reread them and reread them again. And for today’s review, he insisted that we should talk about them. So that is what is happening today: Caramel is reviewing six books on physics from the Baby University series, and Sprinkles is taking notes and asking followup questions.
Sprinkles: So Caramel, why did you want to review these books?
Caramel: Well, I liked them. I review only the books I like.
S: But aren’t these books for babies?
C: Yes. So? I don’t care. I liked them!
S: I agree they are cute and fun. But did you find them amusing? Did you find them informative?
S: They do explain some basic physics in simple terms. And even for a little bunny like you, who can read big books, they could teach some basic principles, right?
S: Okay, let us start from the beginning. The earliest physics these books talks about is Newtonian physics. Can you tell me a bit about what you learn in that book?
C: This book talks about gravity, and mass, and acceleration.
S: Hmm, those are big important words. Do you know what they mean?
C: Yeah. For example the book tells me what gravity is. It says: “We can’t see gravity. It is the force that keeps us on the ground.”
S: I see.
C: There are forces and they make a ball move faster. That is what accelerate means. And when an apple falls from a tree, it “feels the force of gravity, and Sir Isaac Newton feels the force of the apple.”
S: Yes, so in this book we go through Newton’s Three Laws of Motion.
C: I knew only one of them before reading this book, the one that says “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction”. So I learned two more.
S: That is good! Then let us move to the book on electromagnetism. That is I believe the next one, in terms of the history of science.
C: Hmm, let me quickly read it again… Okay, this one, like all the others, starts with a ball. All of the books start with “This is a ball.”
S: It is a good starting point, especially if you want babies to be interested, right?
C: Yes. I like balls too.
S: I know! So okay, in this book you learn about electric charges and then magnets and then finally that the ideas of electricity and magnetism are related. Right?
C: Yes! I heard that they use big magnets in wind turbines to generate electricity! They are using this idea!
S: That is cool! Here is an article we found about “the critical role of magnets in wind turbines” and read together.
S: Next let us talk about the book on quantum physics. Tell me about this one.
C: This also starts with a ball. Then it tells us about atoms and electrons. Electrons have energy. This energy is “quantized”.
S: That means that the energy electrons can have has to be among a few possible values. Not all values are allowed.
C: Yes. I learned that from this book.
S: That is some quite fancy knowledge Caramel. I’m glad you are learning all this already!
S: Tell me next about the astrophysics one. This is written by Chris Ferrie and Julie Kregenow.
C: This too starts with “This is a ball.” And then it says planets and stars are like balls. Then it talks about elements on the periodic table. They were all created in stars!
S: Yes, that part made me think about that Symphony of Science song we like to listen to. There is a part in that song where Carl Sagan says, “We’re made of star stuff”. He then says “We’re a way for the cosmos to know itself.” I love that!
C: Yeah, let us embed the video here!
S: Sure, why not?
S: “And there is much to be learned.” I love this song. But let us get back to the books. Next if you want, we can talk about the book about general relativity.
C: This begins with the same sentence: “This is a ball.”
S: Then what happens? What do you learn?
C: I learn about mass and how it warps space, and then about black holes.
S: All pretty cool stuff really…
C: And now let us talk about my favorite one.
S: Yes, let us talk about Rocket Science for Babies.
C: This is my favorite! It again starts with “This is a ball.” Like all the other ones. Then it talks about lift and airplane wings and thrust. And rockets.
S: Why is it your favorite?
C: Because I love rocket ships and planes and balls. And the book is all about them.
S: Yes, that is a good reason to like the book. Did you learn something new from this book?
C: Well, not really. I already knew a bit about lift and thrust and such. But it is still a cool book.
S: So do you think it is time to give these books away to a baby bunny?
C: No! I like them and want to read them a lot more times before we do that!
S: Okay, you can read and reread them as many times as you like. I do think they are good ways to set up the fundamental ideas of some of these things. Do you think these books would work well for babies?
C: Yes, I would have loved to have read them with you when I was a baby.
S: So would I! I myself would recommend these books to parents, especially if they are willing to talk to their little ones about the science a bit, even if it has to be with the help of the internet. But we only found out about them this year. Oh well, better late than never, right? Let us wrap this up. What three words would you use to describe these books?
C: Helpful, colorful, fun.
S: I think those work! So what should our readers do?
C: Stay tuned for more book bunny reviews!