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Stronger Than Steel: Spider Silk DNA and the Quest for Better Bulletproof Vests, Sutures, and Parachute Rope - Bridget Heos, Andy Comins Another title in the HMH series, Scientists in the Field, this one has the hallmark features: A lot of carefully written text, and a photographer taking original photos for the project.

One of the surprising features of this series is the text density, and the no-holds-barred use of the science vocabulary--it's really thick. I wonder if the editors went this direction because of how CCSS encourages the reading of 'complex text'? At any rate, I find it refreshing that the series assumes children learn vocabulary by reading it, not that they have to know it in advance in order to read. [b:How Children Learn the Meanings of Words|705021|How Children Learn the Meanings of Words|Paul Bloom|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1347946005s/705021.jpg|691306] Key terms are repeated often enough in context to give readers multiple high-quality 'hits' on new meanings and words . Bridget Heos has likely spent time trying to explain science to kids, because she reviews and re-explains things that might become confusing for young readers. As an adult I found this an annoying delay in the aesthetic experience, but I see why she did it.

The narrative development of the science of these transgenic animals is fascinating! What we have here is a children's book on a specific thread of genetic engineering. As with other titles in the series, the text and pictures focus on the actual scientists and their work: Randy Lewis, Holly Steinkraus, and Heather Rothmann show up throughout the text. There is a balance of men and women scientists, but Heos and Comins have made sure that women feature prominently as key scientists throughout the whole text. All of the science is presented in context of this search for how to make spider web protein in large quantities.