The following review is by my daughter Colette who has a Master’s degree in Chemistry and also teaches Chemistry classes at the college level:
Lizzy Knight, author of the “Lila the Science Cat” series, desires to write books for children that convey scientific facts at an age-appropriate level. As a scientist myself, I’m an avid supporter of this mission. It’s difficult to find books that are science-based and written on a level so that small children can understand.
In the middle of last year, I needed to purchase a gift for my friend’s daughter who was turning four. I ended up buying several Magic School Bus books, which I absolutely love, but which she won’t really “get” for several more years. How wonderful would it have been if I could have purchased something for her that she would be able to understand, and enjoy now, at just four years old?!
It’s often said that by around age 5 children begin losing their natural curiosity. It is imperative that, from an early age, children begin to see science as something that is exciting, fun, and an area where they can excel. (Caveat: I personally believe that homeschooling helps children continue to develop their natural curiosity, as they tend to have more freedom than their public/private school peers throughout each day to pursue things that they find interesting.) An intensive program is not required to encourage children to pursue science. It simply requires encouraging their natural curiosity—and when they find something they enjoy, they will grab hold of it and devote energy to creating some incredible things.
I think the “Lila the Science Cat” books can help us achieve a more educated society. All of the books Ms. Knight releases are written as three volumes. There is a baby book, a toddler book, and a preschool age book. Currently they are all released as e-books, which work on virtually any device. I downloaded all three iterations of the book “Lila the Science Cat Explores the Solar System” to my Android tablet and once saved in my “Play Books” app they loaded and I was able to read through them with ease.
All of the books are charmingly illustrated. The first book is what you would expect to be age-appropriate for a baby—simply identifying the planets in our solar system, with the adorable Lila to lead the way. The toddler book offers more information about each planet, and follows a similar format as the first book. A full-fledged adventure takes place in the third book, as Lila the Science Cat and her friend Charlie explore the solar system and take your child along for the ride! There is a definite increase in word count and information provided in this book and I think it would be a hit from preschool age through about first grade. The books don’t “talk down to your child” and the third one features an interactive “zoooooom” button that your child can push to turn pages and “zooooom” off to another planet.
While I don’t have children of my own, I’ve spent a fair amount of time reading bedtime stories to my little brothers and children I’ve babysat in the past, and I think this book would definitely be a hit. And as a scientist, I support its accuracy and mission.