These books are well presented, with cartoon-style diagrams and photo-graphs set in uncluttered pages. Each topic includes a brief list of objectives and "Did you know?" margin boxes, closing with questions to test and develop understanding of the topic. There are useful exam-style questions (with answers at the back) and key word lists, which make the books ideal for setting work when teachers are absent.
The depth of coverage of traditional topics in Physics Foundation Tier text is perfect for students studying single and double award science to foundation level. Teachers who are familiar with Co-ordinated Science - Physics by Stephen Pople, also published by Oxford University Press, will recognise the style and also much of the content, although some effort has been made to bring this book up to date.
There is only a small note on the contents page to warn students that topics such as turning and balancing, pressure and stretching and compressing are not included in all the new specifications. Specification maps are being developed by OUP but for the moment it falls to teachers to do this.
Target Science Biology is excellent in many respects, but as a generic text it needs to cover all specifications. Careful checking against the AQA specifications for double award co-ordinated science shows up some points where it does not give sufficient detail - for example, on microbe structure, active immunity, cloning and embryo transfer - and a few where it strays into error - for example, urea is not made in body cells as indicated in two diagrams, but in the liver, as indicated correctly in the key word list at the end of the chapter, 20 pages later.
There are other examples of poor scientific editing, with a nerve cell labelled as nerve tissue and the statement that all plant cells contain chloroplasts - many do not. There is also a disconcerting cartoon diagram of the secretion of enzymes into the gut in what appears to be an upward direction, against the general flow.
There is some attention to the Ideas and Evidence section of Sc1 Scientific Enquiry but it is unrealistic to suggest that DNA fingerprinting and some GM crops can be viewed as spin-offs from the Human Genome Project. Nevertheless, this is a serious contender if you are seeking a text for Foundation Level students.
Nigel Collins is head of biology and Chris Hardy is head of physics at King Charles I School, Kidderminster