Posts Tagged ‘DK Canada’

Write a Review Wednesday: How to Be a Genius

Welcome to another Write a Review Wednesday, a meme started by Tara Lazar as a way to show support to authors of kids literature. Last week we reviewed Theodore Boone. Kid Lawyer. This week we’re looking at DK Canada’s How to be a Genius: Your Brain and How to Train It (age 10-17). I have to thank Chris at DK Canada for my review copy.

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Maybe it’s the thought that school’s starting soon or maybe I’m just suffering from summer brain mush but I’ve been spending a few days with my nose stuck in DK Canada‘s book How to be a Genius: Your Brain and How to Train it.

At first I thought this book would be great for my 8-year old daughter. She loves math and puzzles (like me, well the puzzle part anyway) so I thought this would be a fun read. I always think it’s nice to toss some non-fiction into the mix and this would be fun non-fiction.

How to be a Genius starts off by giving you some information on your brain, including the senses, the differences between the left and right brain and even the physical parts of the brain. The book moves into other areas like the senses, memory, problem solving, language, creativity, plus how your brain makes you who you are and how it continues to develop and evolve.

Now a book about the brain may sound boring but not How to be a Genius. The content is broken out into easily digestible chunks and the pages are eye-catching with unique layouts and typography and a mix of photography and illustration. This book reminds me a lot of DK Canada‘s Pick Me Up (another favourite of ours), in structure not content.

Learning about the brain and how it functions and makes you who you are is interesting (at least to me) but the best part of the book are the brain games. The end of each section includes a few pages of brain games to help illustrate the points made and ‘train your brain’. I’m a big fan of brain games but I think the structure of How to be a Genius offers so much more than just a game to flex your brain matter. The content included with and before the brain game pages explain why your mind functions a certain way, why you may view things differently than others and how to adjust your thinking. This adds so much more to the experience.

Although I seem to have taken over the book, my 8-year old daughter has also spent time with it. She likes to pick an area that interests her, like creativity, and read that section and How to be a Genius is flexible enough to work that way. You don’t need to read the whole book to get some enjoyment (and learning) out of it. I have found my daughter sitting in her room working on the puzzles as an afternoon distraction.

Will How to be a Genius really make me a genius? Probably not but knowing how and why I think a different way then my kids or colleagues has been really helpful. And my 8-year old loves the problem solving, putting her brain matter through the paces. She says after reading How to be a Genius: Your Brain and How to Train It, she’s more than ready for grade 3. We’ll see.

You can add a copy of How to be a Genius: Your Brain and How to Train It to your personal library by visiting your independent bookstore or DK Canada. Looking for other great books for kids? Read through the past Write a Review Wednesday posts.

Write a Review Wednesday: The Most Brilliant Boldly Going Book of Exploration Ever

Welcome to another Write a Review Wednesday, a meme started by Tara Lazar as a way to show support to authors of kids literature. Last week we reviewed Groundwood BooksPetit, the Monster (age 2-5 ). This week we’re looking non-fiction with DK‘s The Most Brilliant Boldly Going Book of Exploration Ever (age 8-17 ), by The Brainwaves and illustrated by Lisa Swerling and Ralph Lazar. I have to thank Chris at DK Canada for my review copy.

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It seems as soon as your kids are old enough to talk the questions start: What’s that? Why do cats have tails? Where do babies come from? As parents we seem to spend a lot of time answering (or sometimes distracting the kids so we don’t have to answer) their unending questions.

When they get older the questions and a child’s inquisitive nature doesn’t change but lucky as our kids discover the joy of reading they can answer some of these questions on their own. DK Canada offers a number of great fiction books that are both informative and entertaining at the same time. The Most Brilliant Boldly Going Book of Exploration Ever by the Brainwaves is one such book.

In this book the Brainwaves are these little cartoon like characters that take you on a journey, in this case through the world rediscovering the world of exploration and their explorers. The Most Brilliant Boldly Going Book of Exploration Ever takes you on a journey through the North Passage, sets sail with Chinese explorers, climbs up Mountain Peaks and dives into Ocean Depths.

Instead of being hit with a large Encyclopedia page of text, readers are given quick explanations, facts and tidbits interspersed among colourful cartoon-like illustrations. Even the page layouts make discovering facts fun: Turn the book up one way to read about North Pole exploration and then flip it around to discover the South Pole or cross a bridge between the New World Market and Old.

My 8-year-old daughter enjoyed reading this book, especially the little dialog bubbles from the book characters. Even my 5-year-old and 3-year-old enjoyed looking at the pages and an overview of exploration (meaning I didn’t read it word for word but pulled out a few interesting lines or paragraphs). Although the book is very graphic and appealing to a younger audience the actual information is ideal for the 8 and older crowd.

The Most Brilliant Boldly Going Book of Exploration Ever is great for a child that is full of questions or has a keen interest on explorers or exploration. There are other titles available in this series: The Most Explosive Science Book  in the Universe, How the Incredible Body Works, The Most Fantastic Atlas of the Whole World,and Greatest Intergalactic Guide to Space Ever. There’s even a similar series aimed at the younger 5-10 crowd: Little Brainwaves Investigate Animals and Little Brainwaves Investigate the Human Body.

You can add a copy of The Most Brilliant Boldly Going Book of Exploration Ever to your personal library by visiting your local independent bookstore or DK Canada. You might also enjoy reading our review on DK Canada‘s Pick Me Up and Open Me Up. For other great book suggestions for kids, checkout past Write a Review Wednesday posts.

Write a Review Wednesday: Pick Me Up

Welcome to another Write a Review Wednesday, a meme started by Tara Lazar as a way to show support to authors of kids literature. In preparation for Chinese New Year I reviewed Barefoot Books Lin Yi’s Lantern: A Moon Festival Story last week. This week my seven-year-old daughter has been working on a school research project. We’ve spent a lot of time looking at reference books so I thought a review of DK‘s book Pick Me Up would be appropriate (although it has nothing to do with her research project). Thanks goes to Chris at DKCanada for my review copy.

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Did you know you can use a pine cone to predict the weather or how to confuse an angry seagull or why people are living longer? I didn’t know this either (except the Pine Cone one) but I picked it up in DK‘s reference book Pick Me Up. This lively and informative book covers topics on history, the natural world and  even arts, entertainment and media, just to name a few.

I love how the content is grouped together. On the page about the dinosaurs and their extinction during the Ice Age you transition into possible human extinction and preparing for Armageddon. The two seem unrelated but they do have similar threads.

The book also builds into the content links or references to other related content in the book by highlighting specific words and providing page numbers. While reading about colour, I learn how colours affect your mood and I can flip to another part of the book to learn more about moods. The chunked content and internal cross-referencing reminds me a lot of the Internet. I can get little bits of info and jump from A to G to B based on my interest and the relevance to the topic I’m reading on.

The use of illustration, photography and typography grab the reader’s eye, even if just flipping through. Pick Me Up calls to you to do just that. Once you open the pages you’ll find yourself drawn in.

If you are looking for something specific, there is a general contents at the front, breaking things into categories, as well as an alphabetical index at the back.

Although you probably won’t be using Pick Me Up as reference book for a school project anytime soon, you’re bound to learn a thing or two just by flipping the pages. This book is great for that knowledge hungry kid in your house (though I’m no kid and have found myself delightfully stuck in the pages).

You might also like DK‘s book Open Me Up, a similarly styled reference book based on the human body. You can see a full review of Open Me Up on EverythingMom.com.

Want to add Pick Me Up to your own personal library? You can by visiting your local bookstore or online at Amazon.ca. Checkout the past Write a Review Wednesday Posts for other great book recommendations for kids.

Write a Review Wednesday: Nativity Story

Welcome to another Write a Review Wednesday, a meme started by Tara Lazar as a way to show support to authors of kids literature. Last time I looked at Sterling Publishing’s classic Christmas tale The Nutcracker, adapted by John Cech and illustrated by Eric Puybaret. This week, with Christmas only days away, I’m looking at DK Canada’s board book Nativity Story (a sparkle and shine book). I have to thank Chris at DK Canada for my review copy.

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The Christmas story is a familiar story in our house; we’ve read a few different versions. DK‘s Nativity Story is written in rhyme, making it a delight to read with the kids. The rhyming text also makes it easy for the kids to predict the next part of the story and to read along. The story starts right from Mary’s angelic visit and goes up to when the three wise men come to visit. The story also includes little side quesitons like: How do you think Mary felt when she heard the news? or What gift would you like to give Jesus? These were a great way to discuss the story and involve the kids more, though I’m not sure how Jesus would feel about receiving a Pirate Ship as a gift from my 5 year old son. The questions appear subtly in the story so they don’t interfere and can be ignored if you just want to read the book, but I loved asking them and my kids loved answering them.

The illustrations look like images from a kids playset, making them approachable to young kids. My kids enjoyed pointing out subtle elements in the illustrations too, like the baby ducks in the barn or where the star appeared in the sky. As a Sparkle and Shine book, each page in the story had some sort of shiny element to it: the sky or the stars or the angel’s wings. This added a magical feel to this very magical story.

The Nativity Story is a large format board book with a padded cover. The sturdy board pages make it ideal for even the youngest readers to enjoy. My kids enjoyed listening to the Nativity Story and my seven-year old daughter enjoyed reading it (and asking the questions) to her two younger siblings. This is a great story to read together during the Christmas season.

To add copy of the Nativity Story to your own library, visit Amaon.ca If you’re looking for other Christmas stories you can see some of our family favourites on my December review post on No Time for Flashcards. And for a great selection of other children’s books, read some of the past Write a Review Wednesday posts.

Have a very Merry Christmas and we’ll see you in the new year for a whole new set of Write a Review Wednesday posts.