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Madam How and Lady Why

Charles Kingsley

Book Overview: 

Did you ever wish you knew how to explain natural phenomena such as earthquakes and volcanoes to your children? Search no more, this book has all the answers and gives them in a pedagogical way.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Peak of Teneriffe, a volcano which is hardly burnt out yet, and may burn up again any day, standing up out of the sea more than 12,000 feet high still, and once it must have been double that height.  Some think that it is perhaps the true Mount Atlas, which the old Greeks named when first they ventured out of the Straits of Gibraltar down the coast of Africa, and saw the great peak far to the westward, with the clouds cutting off its top; and said that it was a mighty giant, the brother of the Evening Star, who held up the sky upon his shoulders, in the midst of the Fortunate Islands, the gardens of the daughter of the Evening Star, full of strange golden fruits; and that Perseus had turned him into stone, when he passed him with the Gorgon’s Head.

But you will see, too, that most of these red and black dots run in crooked lines; and that many of the clusters run in lines likewise.

Look at one line: by far the largest on the earth.  You will . . . Read More

Community Reviews

It was ok but hard to follow

You might relly love this book if your a big English reader. But for me it was a little hard to follofollow.

This book is a mix of the best ideas (the sections on eyes and no eyes, analysis vs synthesis, etc), the worst ideas (the purpose of an earthquake) and generally good ideas (geological descriptions).

The good parts are so very good, the bad so very ugly. With my second student I will use only the bes

Science reading for AO year 4 and 5. Read aloud together.

An interesting book that covers science in a relational format. Some of the information is outdated/incorrect, but definitely guides the reader in understanding how aspects of the world affect each other and encouraging scientific thinking and questioning of the world around us.

It's like he's always talking down to the reader.

"Now little kid, I would tell you about this and this but you're too stupid, not old and wise and clever like me... Ah hah! Here is something you might comprehend! I will talk a bit about it. But THAT, oh, don't even try to think about such and such,

I read chapters 1-3 and chapter 8 to my children (14, 12, and 10) this school year, but we’re not going to finish it next year. I found better resources for conveying the important idea that science can only answer questions about the natural world and when you begin to talk about purpose you’ve ste

Slow read with my son for school. After getting past the first chapter I found it pretty interesting. It requires looking up plants and events that aren't known to me as they would have been to readers when the book was first published but the authors insights and commentary are worthy to consider.

Children's books have come a long way since Charles Kingsley wrote this charming book on natural science and addressed it to boys only, because of course girls wouldn't care about volcanoes or coral reefs, would they? The author was a friend and supporter of Charles Darwin, so for its day, the book

my kids did not respond well at all to this book.

This vintage science book was a fascinating attempt to balance faith and reason. I was surprised, though, at Kingsley's acceptance of the theory of evolution.

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