Review Blog

May 13 2010

Oscar and the bird: a book about electricity by Geoff Waring

cover image

Walker Books, 2009. ISBN 9781406318685.
(Age 5+) Electricity is invisible so when a curious cat asks why a windscreen wiper is moving, he is lucky that a bird is at hand to answer his questions.
Oscar the cat is persistent, responding to Bird's brief explanations with more questions until he has learned a little about energy, batteries, circuits, lightning and the need to be safe near power lines. Wind power is the only alternative energy source mentioned.
The question and answer format is an effective way to encourage young children to think about science because it mirrors their own thought processes. They can engage in the story and the questioning, continuing with their own enquiry after the story has ended. More conventional explanations of the uses and sources of electricity are offered at the end of the book along with a brief index.
The illustrations are muted in colour and suggestive of books published 50 years ago when line drawings enclosing blocks of colour were common in books for young children. The result is free of clutter so that the reader can focus on the concept being explained.
Oscar and the bird could be a comfortable read for a Junior Primary Child or a bed-time story for a pre-schooler. It is one of a series of picture books featuring the same characters and aiming to prompt the question 'Why is it so?'
Elizabeth Bor

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