#5 The Missing Cuckoo ClockLynda Beauregard has pulled off a curious creature: the children's scientific-mystery comic book. I found myself most drawn to the treatment of gravity--not just in terms of explanation but also for its demonstrations and labs children could perform for themselves.
A Mystery about Gravity
Lynda Beauregard (Author)
Der-Shing Helmer (Illustrator)
Lerner Publishing Group
We learn about how clocks, pendulums, pens, and water clocks work via gravity. Why can beach balls support your weight on sand but not in water? Can you change your height overnight? Best of all, it addresses the common misunderstanding that the rate of one's fall is not related to one's mass. Vocabulary discussed: center of gravity, friction, gravity, balance, and mass. The science is well done and handled like good classroom mysteries with simple explanations.
The story itself is a little less compelling. The story opens at a summer science camp, and the first subject is how a clock works. Interesting to the science teacher in me, but less so for the entertainment. The troublemaker steps momentarily on stage, but she disappears for most of the book. Halfway through the book, the cuckoo clock disappears, but no one's too worried as they all go off to play.
If your student or child has a passion for science, this will whet his appetite. If for story, this may be less compelling, but younger ones may still be swept up in the mystery of science, which was well handled.