Rubber-band mathematics, telekenisis, Moebius strips and Klein bottles, multi-dimensional space-folds, a model of a scientific theory, postulates and relative time frames would not seem to be material suitable for children, but this slim book will quickly disabuse you of that idea. This book is a marvelous re-working of the old Mother Goose rhymes, updated to today's scientifically oriented world.
I first read this book just after it was published, when I was about eleven years old, and was immediately captivated. It made no difference that I didn't understand some of the terms being used. The thing that caught me was the skill with which these modern-day and science-fictional items were folded into those well known rhymes, how well they fit and gave new, quite twisted, and in many cases hysterically funny meaning to them. Reading them today, these verses are still just as funny, if not more so than I found them to be in my youth, as I now can catch the fact that Winsor buried many sly references to Greek literature, outmoded scientific theories, and even satire about academic politics within their brief lines. My favorite along this latter line is `The Theory that Jack Built', which contains a fatal flaw, hidden by mummery, obfuscation, and bells and whistles, which all gets blown away when the Space Child presses the `Go' button.
The illustrations are just as marvelous, and do much to help someone who might not completely understand the scientific terms to see just what is being referenced, while being very individualistic in style and maintaining the humorous tone of the whole book. Along with these visual aids, there are often `definitions' at the bottom of the page, some even more abstruse than the item being defined, but just as funny.
Don't forget to read the `Answers' at the back of the book, which in addition to some appropriate real definitions, also provide some rather unique explanations of some of the terms used in this book, including one which takes a viscous dig at Congress.
Give this one to your son or daughter, but not till you've read it yourself. You might get a few questions, and there might be a few puzzled frowns, but I'd almost guarantee you'll also be the recipient of some laughs and smiles.
--- Reviewed by Patrick Shepherd (hyperpat)