Friday, September 2, 2016

Review: That's a Possibility! by Bruce Goldstone

My 5-year-old is constantly asking me if XYZ can happen. Can a tornado happen where we live? Earthquakes? Can fire burn under water? What if...

The answers often center around probability, and they're questions I don't want to fudge the answer to. What if I told him that tornadoes can't happen here, and then we have to hide in our bathroom from a tornado? That would be my luck! And just try telling him "not to worry" about something. He's not too worried, actually. He likes his what-ifs and can-you-reallys. So, yes, a tornado can happen here, but it doesn't happen often.

Yes, we had a small earthquake here once (can't fudge that one!) but no, earthquakes are unlikely to destroy everything on the continent. These "buts" and "maybes" would eventually lead to him asking me the exact same question again (Send help!), perhaps looking for a more accessible answer.

Then I found this book. Tada! It walks the reader through questions and visuals like the one on the cover and introduces important terminology such as "possible" and "probable." It starts out at about my 5-year-old's level and gets a little more complicated from there, ending with a few activities you can do at home.

This book brought the concept of probability back down from the clouds, where my child lives, down to earth. At least for a few minutes.

I'm sure my 5-year-old will continue to ask (and re-ask...) the same kinds of questions every hour of every day, but now the answers and the discussions that follow can be more meaningful to him (and to me.) Now he understands that there are many things that CAN happen but likely never will happen. Like being struck by lightning. One hundred times. Yes, of course he asked me that one, too.

P.S. Fire can burn under water if it is burning magnesium. Or if it uses an oxidizer. You're welcome.

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