Monday, October 17, 2016

Nonfiction Monday: Real or Fake? by Emily Krieger, illustrated by Tom Nick Cocotos

National Geographic rules in the genre of what I like to call "factoids"; collections of fun facts. This book challenges kids to analyze photos and "facts" and figure out which are real and which are fake.

The introduction gives three criteria for deciding what is true and what isn't; check the details, compare the story to your own experience, and be skeptical of things that sounds too good to be true.

The stories range from fake new stories (there will be six days of total darkness this December!) to gags that people took seriously, like the BBC's documentary about spaghetti trees. There's also wacky true tales, like the battle over guano-covered islands in the Pacific or elephants' ability to communicate long-distance through seismic signals.

Interspersed with these longer (four page) stories are quick quizzes of facts and photos. Some are odd jobs (Hotel Bed Warmer is an actual job) or multiple choice quizzes - mosquitoes, not sharks, are the deadliest animals on earth, etc. The photos include obviously photoshopped images as well as tricky perceptions and wacky poses.

The book is illustrated with a combination of photos, collages of images, and lots of splashy color and layouts.

Verdict: While kids will certainly enjoy skimming through this, I didn't feel that the brief introduction offered enough information on how to evaluate the information. So, I wouldn't use this for teaching information evaluation skills, but just for fun!

ISBN: 9781426324055; Published 2016 by National Geographic Kids; Review copy provided by publisher

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