Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 8.djvu/127

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117
LITERARY NOTICES.

viction that it has come at last. We do not allude to Mrs. Stevenson's "Biology for Boys and Girls;" it occupies a widely-different field. "First Book of Zoölogy," by Prof. Morse, is the little work which we wish to consider. It has some points on which we would for a moment dwell. First, it really teaches zoology. It deals with the morphology and actual structure of familiar things. It advises you to get snails or insects, and shows how to get them. Now, every one should know that this is just what a child wants to do. Every child is naturally a collector. Then comes the study of form. Here are simple outline drawings. The external parts are laid out, and each part is shown to the pupil, and its name as a part is given. Now the child must draw these parts on his slate, and then name them for himself; and every child with a little patient help can do all this. But, when this is done, the morphology of a shell, or whatever else, is well learned, albeit the little pupil has never heard the big word used above. And what an eye-opener, and mind-expander, and tongue-loosener, half an hour of such work with a child is! The little child becomes at once a naturalist, intent upon his snail, he sees things, and thinks things, and asks things, that are all new to him. This little book utterly eschews technicalities, and even classification. An intelligent boy will make a collection, and then will attempt to sort it into groups or sets of real or fancied similitudes. This is instinctive classification. But it is plain that the collection must come first; that is, that intelligent classification must stand related to things more than words. A blind man could not classify the stars. Here, then, is the blunder which our author shuns: of beginning to teach systematic classification with no knowledge or sight of the objects. The author's method is that of Nature. It is the word-method in reading instead of the old ABC plan. Get your object, then learn its parts, and, thus trained, classification will be sought for, and can then be entered upon; and even its systematic names will be learned with delight, because they have a real significance; that, of course, will be the work of a "Second Book." The first is just such as any teacher can handle, and that too with pleasure, for it unfolds the objects of Nature precisely in Nature's own way. A real excellence in a primer is, that it is small. This little book reminds us of the pinhole in the card to which the eye is applied; it takes in a very little bit of Nature, but that bit is wonderfully amplified with good, clear, achromatic light. In this wise it is that one who has done a long service in teaching natural history to children hails Dr. Morse's little book.

S. L.

Money, and the Mechanism of Exchange. By W. Stanley Jevons, F. R. S., Professor of Logic and Political Economy in the Owens College, Manchester. No. XVII. "International Scientific Series." New York: D. Appleton & Co. 350 pages. Price, $1.50.

There is, beyond question, a most important scientific side to the complex subject of money. It has its observable phenomena, its analyzable relations, and its deducible laws; and, as it pertains to the operations of human society, it is a legitimate branch of social science. For this reason it was entirely proper that the subject should be treated in an independent monograph in the "International Scientific Series." One of the ablest and clearest logical heads in Europe, author of a masterly treatise on the philosophy of science, and a special and thorough student of political economy, was chosen to execute the work. Again there were permanent, general, and what we may term cosmopolitan reasons for taking up the subject with a view simply to the exposition, improvement, and extension of valuable knowledge.

But for us the subject has also quite another aspect. There were urgent American reasons why it should be treated. We believe in the glorious leadership of our country; we are in advance, and bound to be in advance, of civilization, and in this case the American people furnish ample evidence that they are quite ahead of the world in their ignorance of every thing like principles or laws relating to money. The American voter, with his hands full of greenbacks, has about as much understanding of the science which treats of them as the Indian of the science of wampum. That they can buy things with them, and that