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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 32.djvu/726

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

coasts as "accidental visitors." The body of the manual—which is preceded by a "Key to the Higher Groups"—consists of technical descriptions of the orders, families, genera, and species, in the general order of diving-birds, swimmers, waders, shore-birds, gallinaceous birds, pigeons, birds of prey, parrots, etc.; cuckoos, woodpeckers, etc.; goat-suckers and swifts, and the perching birds. The appendix gives additional memoranda concerning certain rare or little-known species, and lists of new genera and species, and of genera and species admitted as North American which are not included in the American Ornithological Union's check-list. The index gives a reference to every genus and species described, under both its scientific and its popular name.

Introductory Steps in Science. For the Use of Schools. By Paul Bert. Translated by Marc F. Vallette. Revised and enlarged by John Mickleborough. New York: D. Appleton & Co. Pp. 363. Price, $1.50.

One of the greatest obstacles with which the new scientific education has had to contend is a lack of text-books embodying the true spirit of scientific teaching. This lack is now being rapidly supplied, in each of the several branches of science, with books adapted to pupils of various needs and states of advancement. The present volume is designed as a first book in science for young pupils. The study of Nature is especially fit for the training of the young. In the words of the preface to this book: "It is a well-recognized fact that the cultivation of the sense-perceptions lies at the foundation of all knowledge. These sense perceptions are converted into knowledge under two conditions: first, by observing differences; second, by observing likeness or similarity." It is in early childhood that the exercise of the senses is most active and most pleasurable. A little training in proper methods of observation at this time is worth more than months spent in memorizing scientific facts at a later period. As the child's interest is not confined to animals, plants, or rocks, to physical, chemical, or physiological phenomena alone, so this book obviously accords with natural development in presenting the elements of all the common branches of science before the pupil is required to pursue advanced study in any one. The work consists of seven parts: Animals; Plants; Minerals and Rock Formations; Physics; Chemistry; Animal Physiology; and Vegetable Physiology. "In all departments of the book the subjects have been treated in a manner to cause the learner to observe, think, and then express the result of the observations in suitable language. The pernicious practice of memorizing the text-book, or of requiring the student to listen, recollect, and then repeat the formulated statement of the instructor, can not be too strongly condemned." The favor with which the French original was received is shown by the fact that over half a million copies were sold within three years. The style of the translation is conversational, adhering closely to the language of the author when this is possible. Illustrations have been supplied with a liberal hand. "In the natural history, so far as possible, American species have been substituted for foreign ones; and in the chapter on rock formations, that portion which treats of the continental development of North America has been substituted for the author's geological history of France. In short, such corrections and changes have been made as would materially enhance the value of the book in the bands of beginners in science in America."

Memoir of Fleeming Jenkin. By Robert Louis Stevenson. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. Pp. 302. Price, $1.

This memoir, by one of the first of living English romancers, gives a breathing portrait of a very interesting man. While Fleeming Jenkin's original work in electrical science is a notable part of the world's recent advances therein, it was as a man that he was chiefly remarkable. Professor Jenkin was ardent and impulsive, with little conventional polish, the soul of honor, and a man with whom honesty was a passion. lie found in his engineering work a noble opportunity for his love of exactitude and thoroughness. He exemplified how supremely ethical are the tasks of applied science in the demands made on its votaries. During his long voyages, while he was busy laying and recovering ocean-cables, he