Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 43.djvu/142

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tributes to deceased educators, which would be better published elsewhere. A little farther on the editor has a tilt with Prof. C M. Woodward, and near the end several defenses of the public schools, having no bearing on the proper subject of the report, are brought in. The report proper consists of five hundred pages of well-digested material, being mostly accounts of the instruction in industrial art and the use of mechanical tools that has been introduced in various places. This is followed by eight hundred pages of appendixes made up of miscellaneous reports, essays, and addresses, parts of which are valuable, other parts pleasant but vague, and much of the whole merely duplicating other matter in the volume. There is a great deal of matter in these appendixes that only makes the volume clumsy and impedes the earnest student of pedagogy. Here and there we find poetical quotations or wholly unnecessary lists of names, and in one place a lot of "after-dinner" speeches with the "applause" duly interjected. It is no wonder that the public printer can not get these bulky reports out until they are stale, and that so many copies go unread back to the paper-vat.

A little text-book devoted wholly to mensuration has been prepared by Alfred J. Pearce, and is published by Longmans, Green & Co., under the title Longmans' School Mensuration (80 cents). It comprises reduction of denominate numbers and the calculation of lengths, areas, and volumes. There are a large number of examples at the end of each section, and several sets of examination papers have been introduced. A simple proof of nearly every rule is given. The diagrams illustrating the various figures and solids are very numerous, and have been carefully prepared.

The Step-by-Step Primer, prepared by Mrs. E. B. Burnz (Bumz & Co., 24 Clinton Place, New York, 25 cents), embodies a thoroughly scientific mode of teaching reading. The phonetic principle is the basis of its method, and the author does not allow any such host of exceptions and deviations from this principle as often makes what passes for "phonic teaching" into a mongrel practice. The author insists that the letters shall be regarded as standing for spoken sounds, just as definitely as the characters in a piece of music stand for musical sounds. No one can question that this was the intention of the ancient inventors of the alphabet, but the fact is too often lost sight of, especially by teachers of reading. In this primer each letter is made to show what sound it stands for, and the learner has only to combine these several sounds to get the whole word. This is effected by means of the Burnz's Pronouncing Print, the chief feature of which is that when a letter has an irregular sound this sound is indicated by a small subscript letter cast on the shoulder of the type. Webster's diacritics are also made use of, and silent letters are denoted by Leigh's hair-line type. Some Hints on Phonic Teaching are appended to the book. The primer is attractively illustrated and neatly printed.

In a volume of 443 pages, John C. Branner. Ph. D., State Geologist of Arkansas, has issued Vol. Ill of the Geological Survey of Arkansas. This volume concerns "whetstones and the novaculites of Arkansas," and was prepared by L. S. Griswold, assistant geologist. The whetstone industry is very exhaustively treated, and the admirable illustrations and maps will be found very useful. The last chapter is devoted to an interesting account of The Fossils of the Novaculite Area, and contains articles by R. R. Gurley, M. D., and Charles S. Prosser, on The Geological Age of the Graptolite Shales of Arkansas and Notes on Lower Carboniferous Plants. (Little Rock, Ark., Press Printing Company, 1892.)

Under the title Coal Pits and Pitmen, R. Nelson Boyd, M. Inst. C. E., has recast his publication Coal Mines Inspection; its History and Results. In this volume of 256 pages the author reviews the conditions of the mining operatives of Great Britain, and gives in somewhat of detail a history of the legislation for the prevention of the employment of women and children in coal mines. Considerable space is devoted to an examination of the causes of explosions in mines, and there are some excellent suggestions as to required legislation in the direction of increased inspection. In treating of the development of the coal industry in England the author gives some very interesting facts: for instance, toward the end of the eighteenth century the yearly output was estimated to be ten millions of tons—giving employment to fifty thousand work-people, whereas the