Friday, April 22, 2011

Case Closed? by Susan Hughes

In Case Closed?  Nine Mysteries Unlocked by Modern Science, author Susan Hughes uses ancient and more recent historical mysteries to introduce children to the marvels of science.  The book is geared to children in middle school and up.

Each case is formatted the same way.  The mystery is introduced, the historical background is given, and then the way the researchers used science to discover answers is given.  Additional cases in the same category are explained.  Finally, whether or not a discussion on whether or not the case is solved is presented.

Cases include people such as the Pharoah Hatshepsut, the Russian princess Anastasia, Amelia Earheart, Sir John Franklin (a polar explorer) and George Mallory, a mountainclimber.  Other cases discuss a city, Ubar, that disappeared, and an entire North American Indian culture, the Anasazi, who left thriving cities around 1300 and disappeared from history.  Finally, there are cases of journeys such as a trip across the Pacific on a bamboo raft, and submarines and airplanes that disappeared mid-journey.

This book is recommended for young readers interested in science, or for parents who are looking for books to interest teen readers.  The mysteries are presented engagingly, and the science is explained in such a way that it can be easily followed.  Readers learn of medical advances, imaging from space, plant analysis, forensic anthropology, DNA analysis and many more scientific fields.  The book is an interesting gateway to careers in many areas of science. 

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