Artificial Eyes by B. Sheen
Sheen, Barbara. Artificial Eyes. Norwood House Press, 2017.
Artificial Eyes is one of a series of non-fiction books called Tech Bytes, that “explores...new technologies and how they are changing the way people perform everyday tasks.” Barbara Sheen, author of almost 100 children’s books, explores the history of artificial eyes, how they are made, their effect on people’s lives, and future developments. This is a detailed work that is designed to be a reference or text book for Grades 4 – 6. It is an odd combination of factual presentation and anecdotal stories about individuals. For example, “When Teddy was two years old, he was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in his eye. To rid him of the disease, his eye was surgically removed.” Squeamish children may find some content disturbing.
To balance the dense text, most pages have a photograph, diagram, or side-bar containing interesting information. There are also “Did you know?” boxes, which allow for some level of interaction. For example, “Did you know? Bionic eyes only provide black-and-white vision. Experts are working on software that would let wearers see colors.” The end of each chapter also has text-based questions and potential research projects. In this way it is more like a text book, but it is unlikely that a classroom would need textbooks on a subject this specific.
While the short sentence and paragraph structures are appropriate for the upper elementary reading level, many of the words and word-combinations will be difficult for students in these grades. They may require help in understanding the content.
There are few children’s books about artificial eyes, so this would be a good addition to public libraries and both elementary and junior high school libraries.
Recommended: 3 stars out of 4
Reviewer: Sean C. Borle
Sean Borle is a University of Alberta undergraduate student who is an advocate for child health and safety.
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