DANE, January 1, 2012 (view all comments by DANE)
Although this book is technically written for teens, I enjoyed it as it does a fantastic job of explaining some areas of science that I was a little unclear about. For me, it's been a good starting point for more reading. However, for young readers, it's an absolute MUST-READ. Should be on every teen's bookshelf as well as in every school library and science class.
Wendy in Port Townsend, November 29, 2011 (view all comments by Wendy in Port Townsend)
In The Magic of Reality, Richard Dawkins explains natural phenomena in clear scientific terms, contrasting his explanations with myths from many cultures and religions that attempted to explain them. Every chapter answers a question, including "What are things made of?", "What is a rainbow?", and "Are we alone?" He uses clever analogies to illustrate his points, and the book is also filled with gorgeous illustrations by Dave McKean that enhance the written narrative. I had heard so much about Richard Dawkins, an acclaimed British evolutionary biologist, I was eager to read this latest book. However, The Magic of Reality is really intended for a younger audience- perhaps a bright middle schooler- and at times I felt like he was talking down to his readers. Nevertheless, it does do an excellent job filling in gaps in scientific learning for adults (like me) who haven't studied astronomy since college and who never studied physics. And now I'm very curious to read more of his writing to understand more from his brilliant mind.
"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"In this outstanding 'graphic science book,' evolutionary biologist Dawkins (The Selfish Gene) teams up with illustrator Dave McKean (The Graveyard Book) to examine questions in everyday science, such as: why seasons occur; what things are made of; and whether there's life on other planets. They explain the answers from mythological and cultural points of view before diving into the chemistry, biology, and physics — all in language that advanced middle school, or most high school, students can absorb. Rather than oversimplifying things, Dawkins's explanations demonstrate that life on earth is magical enough without tricks of the eye or supernatural theories. Appearing on every page, McKean's illustrations cover the gamut from prehistoric creatures along the evolutionary chain to a sequence showing how the immune system defends the body from a flu virus. This book may be exactly what's needed to increase science literacy for readers of all ages." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
by Ricky Gervais,
"I wanted to write this book but I wasn't clever enough. Now I've read it, I am"
"Exhilarating. The clearest and most beautifully written introduction to science I've ever read. Again and again I found myself saying "Oh! So that's how genes work!" (or stars, or tectonic plates, or all the other things he explains). Explanations I thought I knew were clarified; things I never understood were made clear for the first time. My favourite adjective of praise has always been 'clear,' and this book has clarity all the way through." Philip Pullman, author of The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ and the His Dark Materials trilogy
"I am often asked to recommend good books on science for young people. From now on, I will not have to hesitate. The Magic of Reality provides a beautiful, accessible and wide ranging volume that addresses the questions that all of us have about the universe, separating often too-little known facts from too-frequently believed fictions. For this reason it should be a powerful resource for people of all ages, written with the masterful and eloquently literate style of perhaps the best popular expositor of science, Richard Dawkins, and delightfully illustrated by Dave McKean. What more could anyone ask for?" Lawrence Krauss, Foundation Professor and Director of the Origins Project at Arizona State University and the author most recently of Quantum Man, and A Universe from Nothing
Richard Dawkins’s The Selfish Gene revolutionized the way we see natural selection. His blockbuster The God Delusion provoked worldwide debate. Now this master science writer has teamed up with David McKean, a master of the graphic novel, to create a new genre: the graphic science book.
The Magic of Reality
Science is our most precise and powerful tool for making sense of the world. Before we developed the scientific method, we created rich mythologies to explain the unknown. The pressing questions that primitive men and women asked are the same ones we ask as children. Who was the first person? What is the sun? The myths that address these questions are beautiful, but in every case their beauty is exceeded by the scientific truth.
With characteristic clarity and verve, Dawkins uses each chapter to answer one of these big questions. Looking first at some of the myths that arose to answer the question, he then, with the help of McKean’s marvelous full-color illustrations, dazzles us with the facts. He looks at the building blocks of matter, the first humans, the sun — explaining the life and death of stars; why there’s a night and a day — ranging from our solar system to the inner workings of our planet; what a rainbow really is — going from the rainbow in your backyard to the age of the universe; and finally, he poses a question that still baffles scientists: When did everything begin? This is a frame-by-frame look at the infinite beauty behind everyday phenomenon.
Richard Dawkins teams up with illustrator Dave McKean (Coraline, The Graveyard Book) to write a graphic book examining natural phenomena.
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