Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Giving Books for the Holidays IV

I have 4 older nephews.  By older, I mean tweens.  They are all readers, but they enjoy books like Guiness, Top Ten..., etc.  So, with this in mind, I took care when choosing their books this year.  Maybe someone on your list would enjoy one of these picks.

Blast Lab by Richard Hammond
Richard Hammond strikes again with more fun and fantastic science! Readers can get their hands dirty-literally-in this wacky lab manual that walks them through more than 100 awesome experiments. Hammond's irreverent text and easy-to-follow instructions reveal the key principles of biology, chemistry, physics, mechanics, and more, getting readers truly engaged in scientific study.

96 pages
Ages 9-12

My Thoughts:  I found this one at our school book fair and just knew the boys would love it!  The great thing is that a book I get for one, is eventually shared by all 4 of them, because they trade.  I'm hoping they'll do some of these experiments together.  The experiments in the book are divided into 6 sections:  Up, Up and Away; Bright Ideas; That's Incredible!; Eww, Gross!; Playing with Food;  Turn up the Volume.  I wonder which section they'd like most?  My choice is food because you can make Ice Cream in a Bag.  Each experiment has colored pictures as well as pencil drawings.  There are step by step instructions for all, and a "How Does it Work" section for many.  Most of them can be done with simple items you have around the house.

A Really Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson
Enter the world of science as Bill Bryson unmasks the mysteries of the universe.

Did you know that:

• Every atom in your body has almost certainly passed through several stars and been part of millions of organisms on its way to being you?

• If you are an average-sized kid, you have enough potential energy inside you to explode with the force of several hydrogen bombs?

And—What happened to dinosaurs? How big is the universe? Why are oceans salty? Is a meteor going to hit us?

Tackling everything from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization, Bill Bryson’s inimitable storytelling skill makes the why, how, and, just as importantly, the who of scientific discovery entertaining and accessible for young readers. 
176 pages
Ages 9-12
My Thoughts:  Kids don't know enough about history.  It seems these days they aren't real concerned with it.  That's a shame, because we learn from our past.  All of the history in this book is about science.  How can that be, you say?  Well, it's easy...Bryson explains the history behind the mighty atom, an asteroid hit, Earth's five major extinction episodes, just to name a few.  My nephews love science and history, so I thought this combination was perfect!  Thanks to Knopf for the review copy that I can pass on.  The pictures in this book are real as well as drawn and colored.  I think it really helps children to see real pictures when reading non-fiction, but I like that the author added illustrated pictures to bring fun and whimsy to the book.  This will attract ones who may steer away from non-fiction, because it looks more like a picture book would.

With annual sales of 200,000 copies, Top 10 of Everything is clearly the place people go to get the lowdown on what or who was the best, worst, richest, fiercest, deadliest, or simply biggest of practically anything. It features over 7,000 intriguing facts and stats on history, science, sports, music, movies, nature, people, and places—from the stars of stage and screen who shone the brightest to the terrestrial animals that weigh the most.
Some of the lists are entirely new, some are updated with the latest news, and all appear on attractively illustrated spreads. “First” and “Fast” fact boxes pinpoint the pioneers and the most recent achievers in various endeavors. It’s entertaining and educational!

256 pages

My Thoughts:  Every time I look at this book, I think of David Letterman's Top 10.  How funny is that?  Some of the top 10's in this book are just as bizarre and/or funny as his were.  My nephews love stuff like this!  I have loved looking at it, thanks to Sterling Publishing.  Some of the top 10s include:  The 10 Most Venomous Reptiles and Amphibians, The 10 Least Corrupt Countries, Top 10 Albums by Groups in the USA, Top 10 Halle Berry Movies, Top 10 Motor Vehicle-Owning Countries (USA is #1).  Interesting, huh?  The lists go on and on.  It's illustrated with real color photographs, charts, graphs, and tables.  A must have for anyone who wants to be "in the know" or to impress others with random facts of trivia.

This all new 6th title in the best selling Ripley's Believe It or Not! annual series, is a compendium of incredible bizarre facts, stories, interviews and features all presented in a stunning bright new design. This year's book also features icons that guide readers to astounding video clips on our new fully-integrated website, where they can see some of our subjects in action. Also, a dramatic eight-page gatefold section presents some extraordinary performers of the past, and additional black and white Ripley archive photographs feature throughout the book.
Be amazed at the dentist with no arms, the snake that swallowed a wallaby, an underwater sculptor and a four-eared cat! For the legions of dedicated Ripley's fans, and anyone else on the planet who loves unbelievable facts and jaw-dropping images, the latest annual in this successful series is a feast of delights.

256 pages

My Thoughts:  That eye on the front cover is really a hologram...the eye appears to open and close.  Pretty cool!  The book is appealing, from the blue cover to the bright, vivid photographs throughout.  I have to admit that some of the things in this book grossed me out, but my husband loved them, so I'm sure my nephews will as well.  What was gross?  Well, for one, the man who crams 11 LIVE Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches into his mouth...ewww!!  There are interesting facts, like, did you know the Devil has a swimming pool?  It's the most dangerous pool in the world, located on the Zambezi River in Africa.  Or, the swiss auto company that created a completely submersible convertible.  Oddities are included such as the kitten born with 2 heads or the Chinese olympian that pierced his head, face, hands and chest in the Olympic ring colors with 2,008 needles.  He was celebrating the 2008 Olympics.  You want facts, oddities, unbelievableness, you get it and plenty more in this book!  There's even a fold out section, in black and white, showcasing Barnum and Bailey's Sideshow.  So much for readers to learn...they will be learning as they go through the pages!

Who on your list would like one of these books?  My problem is, I hope my nephews will have enough room on their bookcases for these great new titles!  Oh, well!  I guess they could always ask Santa for another one if they don't fit.  I know I could use a new one right about now!

1 comment:

Luanne said...

The Ripley is addicting and there's so much to look at!

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