ANY one may teach the higher branches of science; none but masters should dare to give elementary instruction. The truth of this fundamental article of the teacher's creed is very strikingly confirmed by this little book, which professes to give uninstructed persons some elementary knowledge—first, of the chief chemical products of animal and vegetable life; secondly, of vegetable physiology; and lastly, of animal physiology. One of the rules of I teaching which a real teacher has soonest and most forcibly brought home to him says, “Never use an illustration if you can do as well without it.” The practice of the author of this work is evidently, “Never miss a chance of using a metaphor, or simile, or image, or illustration that occurs to you. If it is ‘striking’ or ‘homely,’ use it as often as you can.” The author possibly understands his subject; we cannot tell for certain whether he does or no, for we cannot disentangle the real things from his striking illustrations of them. We never know whether he is speaking soberly or in metaphor, and we are perfectly sure that a lad of lively imagination, reading this book by way of an introduction to biology, would get into his head such fearful and vivid ideas of what was going on inside plants and animals, that no subsequent teaching could ever set him right, and life would ever afterwards be a burden to him.
Elementary Introduction to Physiological Science.
(London: Jarrold and Sons.)