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Crimebusters: How Science Fights Crime Review by the Gelzer FamilyBy Clive Gifford
Barron's Educational Series
250 Wireless Boulevard
Hauppauge, NY 11788
Do you have children who love playing detective and reading mysteries? If you do, they will love Crimebusters. Through 61 glossy pages and a nice mix of text and photos, you will learn about forensic science. Five chapters cover the whole investigation process and all types of crimes: "The Investigation Begins," "Suspects and Victims," "Hidden Clues," "Fakes and Cover-Ups," and "High-Tech Crimebusting." Though relatively short and quickly paced, the book covers lots of territory--not just the usual fingerprinting but thermography, ballistics, and scanning electron microscopes too. My children (ages 6, 8, and 12) especially liked the real-life tone of the book. It describes what real forensic scientists do and the technology and methods they use. My son said, "I like Crimebusters because it tells about real cases and says true things about crime." Examples from actual cases are featured on many of the pages to show how forensics was applied to solve real cases. These blurbs truly bring a special element to the text. Another great feature is the "Investigate" projects scattered through the book. These are very doable, easy projects that enable kids to try out the forensics methods described. At the back of the book is a list of books and websites to explore as well as a glossary.
Though the book doesn't state a target age level, I think older elementary and middle school students would like it. Parents should be cautioned that some of the photos are a bit graphic: there is a model of a dead body with knife wounds and bullet holes, a photo of a well-preserved corpse, and a small photo of a dead bear.
I gained a vast amount of knowledge about criminology from this book, and there is a lot of science in here. You gain a lot of respect for the field of forensics too!