Published by HarperCollins
Summary: Machines make work easier. The six simple machines—lever, wheel and axle, pulley, screw, ramp, and wedge are all around us, helping us in our everyday life. This book looks at each simple machine in turn, describing how it works and showing common examples. Compound machines are briefly explained. End matter includes a lever activity called “Seesaw Cents”, a glossary, and a couple of websites to check out for more simple machine information. Grades 1-5.
Pros: I am a huge longtime fan of the Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science series. Started in 1960, it’s an amazing resource for explaining scientific concepts to young children. There are two levels (Simple Machines is level 2); level 1 could be used with preschoolers, and level 2 is appropriate for all elementary grades. They provide basic but thorough explanations told in a down-to-earth tone with plenty of real-world examples and fantastic illustrations. I challenge anyone to find a basic scientific concept that hasn’t been written about in a Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science book. (Okay, I once tried to write an article for The Horn Book on this series, but it was turned down for being too promotional. Gee, imagine that).
Cons: You might not get all your questions about how simple machines work answered in this book. It’s a good starting point, not a comprehensive treatise.