Virus Invaders

The Virus Invaders
by Alan E. Nourse

(Illus.: a Venture Book)
Franklin Watts Inc.
Glossary, Index
JH, YA **


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In The Virus Invaders, the young reader is presented with an interesting account of the scientific developments that answered perplexing questions regarding the nature of viruses. Historical events unfold to illustrate beautifully the role of the scientific method in solving the mysteries of viruses--what they are, how they are discovered, and how they cause disease. Analogies and action-packed adjectives and nouns will keep young readers actively involved in unraveling the mysteries of these "tiny tyrants." The stated purpose of the text is to fulfill the need "to be well acquainted with these virus invaders and with our defenses against them, for our own protection...for survival" (p. 18). Thus, the book goes on to describe some specific "virus invaders" and the role of our immune system and vaccines in fighting them off. Current areas of viral research are presented, encouraging a continued interest in this subject. Only a couple of minor flaws mar the beauty of this excellent presentation. There are occasional errors in biochemical terminology, as, for example, when Nourse calls DNA bases amino acids (pp. 36, 45). In addition, the first part of the book is appropriate for the sixth- to eighth-grade reader, while the second half seems to have been written for an older audience. This may be a tool that Nourse uses to stimulate the interest of the younger reader, while leading him or her into a difficult subject. Overall, the book is recommended highly, both for general knowledge and as supplemental material for the classroom.

--Reviewed by Sherry L. Ward in Science Books and Films, 28/7 (October 1992), p. 204.