Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Handy Answer Book for Kids (and Parents) - A review

The Handy Answer Book for Kids (and Parents) 2nd Edition
by Gina Misiroglu
Published by Visible Ink Press (October 2009)

Paperback, 352 pages Reading level: Ages 9-12

Why do dogs bark? 
Why is the sky blue?

Do you care for or have kids? Then chances are you've encountered the 'Why' query now and again. Maybe you know how tunnels are built, or how clouds float, but what if you don't? 

Well, lucky for you there's 
The Handy Answer Book for Kids (and Parents). This book has the answer to those and nearly 800 additional queries with enough depth and detail to both satisfy the curiosity of persistent young inquisitors and provide parents with a secure sense of a job well done. 

Written with a child's imagination in mind, this easy-to-understand book permits kids to help themselves because it's organized by simple topical chapters: Outer Space; Planet Earth and Our Moon; Creatures Big and Small; Plant Life; People around the World; Politics and Government; How Things Work; Math, Measurement, and Time; All about My Body; and Daily Life. 
This book invites parents/grandparents/caregivers to turn those uncertain opportunities into valuable one-on-one learning experiences. 

Gina Misiroglu is a fourteen-year veteran of the West Coast publishing industry, specializing in the development and editing of popular culture, reference, and women's studies titles. Misiroglu has edited and developed hundreds of books in her publishing career for a number of presses, including Price Stern Sloan/HP Books, New World Library, Lowell House, Visible Ink Press, Macmillan Reference USA, and Adams Media Corporation. Misiroglu is the author of Girls Like Us: 40 Extraordinary Women Celebrate Girlhood in Story, Poetry, and Song (New World Library, 1999), winner of the New York Public Library's "Best Book for Teens" Award, and Imagine: The Spirit of Twentieth-Century American Heroes(New World Library, 1999). 

What did I think?  This is a great little reference book for kids with a lot of questions about the world.  I got a kick out of some of the questions and answers in this book (like "What's a jiffy?) and there seemed to be a topic for every kind of kid in here.  There is a lot of information in this book.  The answers are concise and not overly wordy, yet still answer the questions at a fairly complete level (not that I am by any means an expert in any of these topics).  There are plenty of pictures to add interest to the information.  The information in this book is definitely meant for Americans, but there's enough other stuff to interest us Canadians too.  Though it would be lovely to have a Canadian version.

If someone wanted to read through this, it probably wouldn't be too painful, but really this is more of a reference book.  Using this book would be a great way help kids learn how to use an index.  There is also a list of more references and websites at the back if you want more information on a subject.  In our house, we already have a couple sets of encyclopedias that we use to look things up, but if you don't have encyclopedias and want your children to learn how to find information in ways other than the internet, this would be a cost effective choice as it covers a broad range of topics.

As you probably know if you read my blog regularly, my son LOVES science.  So, I thought I'd get his take on things.  He read through some of the science parts of the book and glanced at the rest. He didn't get real specific, but here's what he said...

Me: What did you like about this book?

Will: All the facts that it told me about.

Me: Was there anything you didn't like about this book?

Will: No!

Me: If you were going to tell another kid about this book, what would you say?

Will: I would say, this book is really interesting, you should read it.

Me: What was your favorite part of the book?

Will: Everything, but more specifically, I liked facts about space.

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