Monday, April 19, 2010

Jay Hosler is One Funny, Biologist

I posted once or twice before about Jay Hosler's writing, but he deserves another plug. This weekend I read Optical Allusions from cover to cover and I just have to tell you that I laughed and learned all the way through it, right into the credits, even.  I really admire this author and what he is trying to do with respect to teaching children and child-like adults.  Here's the book - you may have seen it in the Unit Study on the Human Body post, or in a previous post about other books by Dr. Hosler.

Max read this book last week, too, although he did not dive very deeply into the heavy-duty science sections between the comic pages (can't blame him - they were pretty detailed).  I read those particular scientific pages with a great deal of interest, but then again I am some thirty years older than Max and appreciate a hydrophilic protein when I see one, or understand what role messenger RNA plays in coding proteins.  Max is scarcely aware of what a cell is, so these parts were indeed way over his head.  However, he got a bunch of great information about eyesight via Wrinkles the Wonder Brain by reading the comic pages.  If you are an adult prepped to read this book, dig into those sections - they are fascinating!  You will never 'look' at your eyes or eyesight the same way again.  What an amazingly complex system.
Please note that this book is HEAVILY evolution-based.  Dr. Hosler received a grant from the National Science Foundation to write this book and then subsequently study the effect of its use in classroom settings on children and their knowledge of science - he is wondering if this teaching approach works.  I do not know if that study is completed yet or has been published, but his aim was obviously to entertain while teach and he succeeded on a grand scale on both accounts, in my opinion.  He is up there with my favorite authors.  We so far have read Clan Apis and Optical Allusions.  His other book is called The Sandwalk Adventures. All three of these are graphic novels that teach biology (and evolution) in various forms.  Kudos to Jay Hosler for writing these books and for his quirky sense of humor.  Your brain will never be the same after reading them!

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