Book Review: The Usborne Illustrated Dictionary of Science

Figure 1A: The Usborne Illustrated Dictionary of Science.

Figure 1A: The Usborne Illustrated Dictionary of Science.

I bought this book at a sale at my workplace one day in  1428 (AD 2010) on account of it jumping out at me. This text: The Usborne Illustrated Dictionary of Science: A Complete Reference Guide to Physics, Chemistry and Biology with Recommended Websites. I opened the first pages and fell in love with the layout. Not only was this book on laser printer paper that was a smooth touch, it also had two types of table of contents.

There is the general table of contents, which opens up the subject of physics, chemistry and biology, theoretical and applied. When the reader goes to each unit or section, there is then the specific table of contents for that topic. The specific table of contents is extremely detailed and the layout is also easy to follow.

The illustrations draw the reader to the topics and new words (especially tongue twisters) are in bold with captions indicating the main body of the text where they can be found. This is a book that you need for reference topics on the bookshelf that you can reach for when you have the uneducated night school graduate that is teaching your class or the quasi-scientist who almost convinces you of some foolishness before referring back.

The Glossary and Index sections are impressive with general review markers in the back of the book that are a delight to the eyes. There is so much good in this book that there are very few things that one could pick a bone with upon review. There are only two points that I argue with in reality:

  1. This is a science book, which does not include a discussion on Geology, which indeed is an Earth Science, but stress on science. Where on Earth is geology mentioned? In fact, the illustrated guide series has yet to have developed as thorough a model for geology as it has the other areas that it publishes on currently. This is unfortunate indeed.
  2. Under the section on animals, there is a not a graphical laydown of the animals. When I was young, my grandfather paid us to learn the graphs on animals in the book. An example would be canidae, canis lupus, familiaris german shepherd. We thought this was quite fun and it also made us a little bit of money. It would have been really nice to have this broken down.
  3. These family trees could have been done with each family, canidae, felinis and so forth. The same could have been done for people. It is unfortunate that this was not done as when the terminology was used, the reader had no reference point to place it at all.

Besides these three sticking points, the book is excellent and easy to read. The paper quality is pleasant and makes it easy to move page to page. Do not let the size of the book make you think that only an egg head could access this information. Get a hold of this book and supplement what knowledge you already have with it.


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