Friday 25 February 2022

Ouch! Tales of Gravity

Ouch! Tales of Gravity by Kate Simpson, illustrated by Andy Hardiman (Allen and Unwin) ISBN 9781760526610   RRP $24.99 

Reviewed by Nean McKenzie

Ouch! Tales of Gravity is a fun and informative look at what keeps us standing on the ground. Starting with Isaac Newton, humorous illustrations show there were many, many people in history to be hit on the head by things – and gravity was the culprit each time. From here the story goes into clear explanations of the effect of size on the force of gravity, how it works in space and what happens without it. Finally, there is humankind’s attempt to combat gravity, successful or not. All accompanied by Andy Hardiman’s quirky, colourful pictures, it’s easy to forget this is also educational.

The text brings things back to the reader, so they can relate what they know to the science being explained. For instance, it’s easy to imagine what happens when someone is trying to reach something on a top shelf and loses their grip on it. Or activities that might be difficult if there was no gravity (like in a space station) including jumping on the bed, relaxing in the bath, or even eating cornflakes. This works well to engage kids in an interesting way.

Included in the back pages are facts, including Sir Isaac Newton’s findings and of course those of Albert Einstein. There’s also an experiment the reader can try with two water bottles that demonstrates the speed of something falling with gravity. End pages are filled with coloured falling apples, a bit of a theme in the book. 

One More Page podcaster, Kate Simpson, has a background in chemical engineering and believes curiosity can change the world.  Ouch will be enjoyed at home and very useful in primary schools, especially for children grades three to four.

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