Aliens land on pyramid

6th December 1996 at 00:00

INCREDIBLE EXPLOSIONS By Stephen Biesty Dorling Kindersley Pounds 14 each

It would take about 70 camels standing on each other's back to reach the top of the Great Pyramid at Giza. Now, as Michael Caine probably never said, not many people know that. Nor do many people know that, if humans grew like Nile crocodiles, a baby would become a 9.5 metre giant.

For lovers of such trivia, Incredible Comparisons will be essential reading. This large, profusely illustrated book uses a novel approach to explaining physical phenomena and the creations of the made world. Basic units of measurement are the bathtub (volumes of water), the Eiffel tower (height) and the tennis court (area). How many Empire State Buildings could be made from the stones used to build the Great Pyramid? Why, 16 of course. Wonderful stuff to amuse your friends with on long winter evenings,and a wonderful way for young children to make sense of the world. This book shows how a combination of imagination and first-class graphics can convey information in a memorable and appealing way.

Stephen Biesty's Incredible Explosions uses cutaway drawings to ex-plain the workings of items ranging from a windmill to a space station. This is an appealing, attractive book with large colour illustrations and a high level of fine detail. The facts are presented clearly and appropriately for the younger reader.

A nice detail in each picture is the appearance of a little green alien who has crashed in his spacecraft. Searching for the alien encourages readers to study the picture and discover features which they might otherwise have missed. This all adds to the charm of a very entertaining and informative book: a certain hit in any school library or as a Christmas present with lasting appeal.

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