STOPWATCH BOOKS (Silver Burdett: $7.95 each; 25 pp., ages 7-10). It would be hard to find a more appealing set of science books than the eight in this series. Their slim 8x8 formats are crisp with color photos, many of them oversized like the one showing a hairy spider as big as a cereal bowl. These volumes are aptly named because children can literally "stop and watch" such phenomena as an unfurling chrysalis or newborn hamsters tinier than match sticks.
"Chicken and egg" (by Christine Back and Jens Olesen, most photos by Bo Jarner) reveals the inside of an egg after nine days incubation, then at 21 days where feathers and big feet show the chick ready to hatch. As in the other books, the left page explains the photo on the right in two styles of print: a bold heading for young readers followed by smaller type with more details for older kids. Then nestled within those words is a simple drawing or photo to further explain its subject. This is visualization at its best and children won't be the only spellbound observers. Some unscientific adults may be astonished to learn that snails have lungs and that they shoot darts at each other before mating.