Magic takes many forms. Supernatural magic is what our ancestors used in order to explain the world before they developed the scientific method. The ancient Egyptians explained the night by suggesting the goddess Nut swallowed the sun. The Vikings believed a rainbow was the gods’ bridge to earth. The Japanese used to explain earthquakes by conjuring a gigantic catfish that carried the world on its back—earthquakes occurred each time it flipped its tail. These are magical, extraordinary tales. But there is another kind of magic, and it lies in the exhilaration of discovering the real answers to these questions. It is the magic of reality—science.
Packed with clever thought experiments, dazzling illustrations and jaw-dropping facts, The Magic of Reality explains a stunningly wide range of natural phenomena. What is stuff made of? How old is the universe? Why do the continents look like disconnected pieces of a puzzle? What causes tsunamis? Why are there so many kinds of plants and animals? Who was the first man, or woman? This is a page-turning, graphic detective story that not only mines all the sciences for its clues but primes the reader to think like a scientist as well.
Richard Dawkins, the world’s most famous evolutionary biologist and one of science education’s most passionate advocates, has spent his career elucidating the wonders of science for adult readers. But now, in a dramatic departure, he has teamed up with acclaimed artist Dave McKean and used his unrivaled explanatory powers to share the magic of science with readers of all ages. This is a treasure trove for anyone who has ever wondered how the world works. Dawkins and McKean have created an illustrated guide to the secrets of our world—and the universe beyond—that will entertain and inform for years to come.
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.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Bringing reason to young minds
This book is not meant for those who are thoroughly knowledgable in the basics of science. It is not meant for adults who have read previous works by Dawkins. It's obviously geared towards a much younger audience. This book is a perfect introductory for the genre and for other books by Dawkins. A must have for fans of Dawkins with children.
Would not recommend to faithful readers of Dawkins
Let me begin by saying I LOVE Richard Dawkins. I love listening to him speak, I love his ability to communicate scientific truths and hypotheses as well. He is our generation's Carl Sagan. I gave The God Delusion and The Greatest Show on Earth 5 stars; The Selfish Gene is one of the most powerful, eye-opening, consciousness-raising, life-changing books of all time. I am an avid reader of the "Science for the lay person" genre.
I realize that Dawkins is trying here to spread scientific understanding to a wider base with this work. However, if you have done any reading in this genre before, you will find this book, well, infantile. Dawkins is covering no new ground here, he's simply glossing over, in as cursory a way, material that he has either done already or should be plainly obvious to the reader.
He scores a couple of points for organizing it in a new way, interspersing religious creation myths. But if you have read any Dawkins before, you will certainly come away from this one with the feeling that you've just read the large print, "Dawkins-for-children" cliffs notes of his life's work.
I came away from this book feeling that I'd learned nothing that Dawkins hadn't already taught me. This is an absolutely unique case for me with Dawkins' work. I would recommend this only to someone as an introduction to the genre.
A beautiful book
This book is beautiful. I originally had trouble viewing it but have since fixed it by updating my iPad. The images and colors of the book are appealing, the logic of the book is sound and the ideas flow together nicely.
This is not a "fun kids book". It serves as a great intro to critical thinking or as a science reference book. If you have a child the is curious about the way the world works and how we " know what we know" then this book is a great choice.