Monday, December 25, 2017

Big Book of How by James Buckley, Michael Centore, and Cari Jackson

A lot of "factoid" books have passed through my hands at the library. They never lose popularity with kids and I'm always buying updated copies or replacing worn and falling apart books. National Geographic is the main publisher, although Time Inc. has recently been putting out a lot of good efforts in that department.

This book is a little different though, enough to make me take a second look instead of just sticking it on the shelf for the 30 seconds before it gets grabbed off again. The book is divided into 11 sections: Animals, sports, buildings, science, transportation, home tech, technology, space, the human body, you and your world, and just for fun. Each of these includes a handful of questions and, what really stands out, one "how to" set of instructions on doing something that relates to the chapter.

So, in the section on sports you can learn the answer to questions about how sports equipment is made, how referees make calls, how athletes train, and then learn how to play pickup basketball. The chapter on space answers questions about the sun, astronauts, astronomy, the formation of stars, and ends with instructions on launching your own rocket.

The main complaint I hear from teachers and parents about these factoid type books is that the kids just read them and never do anything with the information (other than spout it back at adults at the most irritating moment possible). This book changes all that by including sections on how to actually do an activity or project, bringing the answer to the various questions to life. A kid who makes a rocket may be able to see themselves in space; a kid who grows some salad on their windowsill might think twice about how their body works and the food choices they make.

Verdict: A stand-out factoid book that is sure to fly off your shelves. Definitely worth buying an extra copy or two and keeping an eye out for future updates and revisions. Recommended.

ISBN: 9781683300106; Published 2017 by Time Inc.; Review copy provided by publisher; Donated to the library

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