A friend of mine asked me for my opinion about board books marketed for toddlers with titles like Quantum Physics for Babies and Quantum Entanglement for Babies that her niece was thinking of buying for her child.
You can see the books here.
My opinion is that these are ghastly books that I would never buy for my grandsons. They just use physics vocabulary and think that knowing words equals understanding. That is pernicious. One of the big problems in science education is that students think that knowing words and definitions means they understand the concepts when often they have very little idea. These kinds of books feed into that wrong idea of what learning is. They are clearly being marketed to ambitious parents who from the moment their child is born are planning for them to enroll in elite universities.
While books and reading are very important, children would be far better served learning concrete ideas that are stimulating to the imagination than abstract concepts that lack any concrete basis. Dr. Seuss books like Red Fish, Blue Fish would be far better than this garbage.
I think these meant as joke gifts to give to new parents. They’re pretty bad -- other than the initial laugh you might get out the title, they’re not good for anything. We got a book called “Go the F*ck to Sleep” about putting kids to bed. It was amusing to read once as an adult, but that’s it. I’m not reading it to my kids obviously.
These physics books don’t even seem amusing for adults and it’s way above any kids head. Babies don’t understand that other people have different knowledge than others, so when the second book talks about “Bob knows A but Alice does not” that is entirely foreign to even a young toddler. (My son used to spin around and then ask if everyone else is dizzy -- if he is then surely we must be too!) The artwork is not even good! “Go the F*ck to Sleep” at least had decent pictures.
Rob Grigjanis says
I got as far as “This ball has zero energy”. No it doesn’t.
Rob: that’s where I stopped, too. And church music in the background didn’t help.
Steve Cameron says
Clearly Newtonian physics is best you could hope for a baby to understand.
Well, Depak Chopra would find them enlightening.
“This amount of energy is a quantum” urgh.
I agree. This must be a joke. It’s like “Organic Chemistry for Your Pet Rock” and some such.
The only humor is in the title and even that’s stretched like a rubber band a millimeter from its breaking point. I’m just surprised that they didn’t use a Mozart string quartet for the background music.