Alvin Silverstein Mrs. G. Maunder - Essay

Mrs. G. Maunder

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

I am never certain of the validity of books about factual topics disguised as works of fiction. Often this leads to humanization of characters and an artificiality of situation which the intelligent child quickly sees through and may well find patronizing. [A Star in the Sea] is a typical example. Primarily it is a study of the life-cycle of a star fish, with details of structure, eating habits and reproduction. These have been dramatized by the imposition of a fictional structure (even down to the name 'Stella'); the events are described as 'adventures' which 'frighten' and 'excite'. Yet despite all this, the book succeeds, largely because of … its amazingly detailed text.

Mrs. G. Maunder, "Science and Nature: 'A Star in the Sea'," in Children's Book News (copyright © 1970 by Children's Book Centre Ltd.), Vol. 5, No. 1, January-February, 1970, p. 35.

Advanced students of zoology and general physiology who have been enlightened by Living Light by Edmund H. Harvey … and Bioluminescence by E. Newton Harvey … are aware that the presentation of an elementary introduction to the subject of bioluminescence is not a simple task. The Silversteins … have done quite well [in Living Lights: The Mystery of Bioluminescence]. The chemical nature of cold light arising from the ability of creatures to manufacture luciferin and luciferinase, the...

(The entire section is 445 words.)