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Shortlist

The Usborne Internet-Linked Library of Science: Materials By Alastair Smith, Phillip Clarke and Corinne Henderson Usborne pound;8.99 (hardback); pound;6.99 (paperback)

An information book for the internet generation, Materials explores the chemistry of solids, liquids and gases with links to more than 100 websites, accessed through the Usborne Quicklinks website (www.usborne-quicklinks.com).

Judges' comment: "An engaging way into chemistry through print, illustration and internet links."

Cramlington High's comment: "Lots of information, but feels dated."

DK Guide to the Human Body By Richard Walker Dorling Kindersley pound;12.99

Computer-enhanced 3-D pictures and dramatic close-ups reveal the internal workings of the human body. A large-format book with a four-page fold-out on the circulatory system.

Judges' comment: "A visually stunning book, which through the use of incredible pictures conveys some of the trickiest parts of science really well."

Cramlington High's comment: "Colourful, easy to understand and tells you loads of things you never knew about your own body and other people's."

Life Finds its Feet By Jacqui Bailey A amp; C Black pound;9.99 (hardback) pound;4.99 (paperback)

Volume 2 of The Cartoon History of the Earth uses a lively narrative to tell the story of the first life forms in the oceans and on earth, with brief introductions to fossils and evolution.

Judges' comment: "A delightful book that tackles difficult scientific ideas with a real lightness of touch."

Cramlington High's comment: "A starting point to interest you and guarantee you'll want to find out more (so why no booklist or web guide?)" The Kingfisher Illustrated Dinosaur Encyclopedia By David Burnie Kingfisher pound;18.99

There always seems to be room for another dinosaur encyclopedia on the library or classroom shelf. This authoritative and strikingly illustrated guide to dinosaurs also explains how fossils were formed.

Judges' comment: "Beautifully produced and written, it is excellent at explaining not just what we know but how we know it."

Cramlington High's comment: "Easy to find what you're looking for."

Dear Famous: Albert Einstein and his Inflatable Universe By Mike Goldsmith Scholastic pound;3.99

An alternative biography of "the cleverest bloke ever", jokily illustrated by Philip Reeve's cartoons, and full of surprising insights and little-known facts about the scientist's life.

Judges' comment: "An engaging, lively book that makes you laugh out loud. A magical way of explaining some very difficult physics."

Cramlington High's comment: "Love the illustrations, but why isn't it in colour?"

Mega Bites: Bugs By Christopher Maynard Dorling Kindersley pound;4.99

A pocket-sized introduction to the insect world, full of fascinating facts which should appeal to eight-year-olds and above. Beautifully illustrated and snappily written, the Mega-bite series covers a wide range of topics.

Judges' comment: "An exuberant book that is immensely successful at presenting a lot of interesting information in an engaging way and in a small format."

Cramlington High's comment: "Great to use in project work for younger children."

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