Don't miss this one, because Science Fun with Toy Boats and Planes, by Rose Wyler (Simon & Schuster, $9.95, ages 6 and up), may be the best of its kind. It's a science book for home or school, for one or several children together. It also is a science ``do it yourself'' book. Rightly so, for learning science principles by firsthand experience approaches education at its best. Where others try with indifferent results to embrace this fundamental ingredient of learning, Rose Wyler, author of over 50 children's books, has achieved marked success.
To build simple models that actually work - and these do - captures a child's imagination and interest. The few required materials are familiar and readily available at home and school. The only ``tools'' needed are pencils, ruler, scissors, and a small kitchen paring knife. Adult help is suggested with the scissors and knife for cutting cardboard milk cartons.
The large-print text is beautifully written for its purpose - simple, straightforward, with no condescension. Although technically correct, no word is too long or complicated. The ``Hi, Captain'' salute to young readers, as well as the feel of the writing, suggests warm respect for children, speaks to their need for self-esteem, and helps them to identify with the action.
Although I find the cover too busy, the pictures inside are clear and delightful, decorative well as specifically illustrating the simple construction techniques. For the young physicist, there is a wealth of information in this little book. Purpose and insight are what draw a child to the engaging work of science, not the ``fun'' in the title. But the fun is here, too, and it's a joy for parent or teacher to find a book that is sure to encourage children's interest.