by Jason Chin
As in his stunning books, Redwoods, Coral Reefs, and Island: A Story of the Galápagos, artist Chin brings his multiple talents to bear on a scientific subject and, with a combination of fact and fantasy, makes it understandable and exciting for young explorers. Gravity is a wide, horizontal volume, which allows long, spacious spreads as well as a few divided into sections. It begins with a dark blue book falling onto a beach where a boy is playing with his space toys. He and a gull show interest in its subject: gravity. Suddenly, he is caught up in a world where gravity disappears—everything floats into space: crabs, the book, his toys, a banana, even the sand, and water. In huge capital letters, words describe, and successive pictures show, how the moon and Earth would drift away from the gravitational centers that pull them. Huge spaces and a brilliant, burning Sun illustrate mass and its relationship to gravity, keeping Earth near the Sun and our moon near its Earth. Attention shifts back to earth again as the floating objects fall and readers can marvel that the space toys (and a banana now rotten) land on astonished girls who must have been selling lemonade under a tree. A final spread tells more about gravity along with some witty explanatory pictures, while a fun surprise waits on the end page. From its space-blue endpapers to its silky pages and brilliant images, Chin’s book is extraordinary. His artistry, like gravity, pulls young scientists into a disorienting experience they will long remember. A bibliography of eight books lists more information about gravity and physics.
Reviewer: Barbara L. Talcroft