Stella and I visited the public library at the end of our street (a mere 1½ blocks away). She had a purpose in mind; I did not. But I came home with Richard Dawkins’s book, The Magic of Reality: How We Know What’s Really True. When I got home, I opened the book and read about a quarter of the way through it without stopping. It’s that good.
I had not realized that it is a book for children as well as adults. If I had an intelligent, aware 10-year-old, I would make sure s/he had an opportunity to read this book. What I’ve read so far deals with the scientific method and the basics of genetics and evolution, and I’ve never read a more straightforward, uncluttered but sufficiently detailed explanation anywhere. And the illustrations, by Dave McKean (whose work is so integrated with the text that he receives coauthor credit), will mesmerize you, even if you just sit down and thumb through the book without reading. Books don’t get any better than this one.
For some reason (having nothing to do with his “controversial” status among religious fundamentalists) I have never read Dawkins’s works before. I intend to remedy that deficiency.
My only complaint is that the retail price of this beautiful book is (understandably) a bit on the high side for children from families on a budget. But there’s always the public library…