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Book Review: The Manga Guide To The Universe by Kenji Ishikawa and Kiyoshi Kawabata

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The Manga Guides teach the basic concepts of science in an entertaining and informative context. Manga is a very popular form of Japanese comics. By utilizing this format to teach students about the various sciences, the people at Ohmsha Press have created some fascinating textbooks. They provide a learning experience that is informative and fun at the same time. With them, young pupils may actually enjoy the educational process for a change, and learn some important facts about science as well.

The Guides have proven to be so popular in Japan that US publishing house No Starch Press have translated them into English. I must say, the “dry as dust” study guides I had as a student never interested me as these do. Their recent Manga Guide To The Universe is a great example of what they do best. The book provides an excellent introduction to the concepts of astronomy.

The five chapters offer an easy to follow step-by-step course in the basics of what we have learned about the universe. We begin with “Is Earth The Center Of The Universe?” Students are shown how mankind eventually realized that the Earth is in rotation around the sun, as are the other planets in our solar system.

From there we are move into “From The Solar System To The Milky Way,” “The Universe Was Born With A Big Bang,” “What Is It Like At The Edge Of The Universe?” and “Our Ever Expanding Universe.” Each chapter is broken down into a considerable number of sub-chapters, which help to make this relatively abstract information much easier to grasp.

The Manga Guide To The Universe is set up in a very user-friendly manner. The opening to each chapter and many of the sub-chapters are a series of Manga comics, outlining everything in comic form that will be discussed. The body of text then fully explains the topic .

Besides the universe, there are Manga Guides for a whole range of subjects, including electricity, statistics, and physics. They are highly recommended to parents who wish to offer an alternative to the often staid presentations of this material.

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