Saturday, August 13, 2011

SPL Shelf Life [kids]

These reviews appeared in the Stratford Gazette on August 11th. Written by Sally Hengeveld, Librarian.

Show Off: How to Do Absolutely Everything, One Step at a Time, by Sarah Hines Stephens and Bethany Mann, 199 pages.
Here’s a book which could be very handy in those last few weeks of summer vacation when your child or teen is wondering what to do. Show Off offers instructions to kids on how do to 244 intriguing and amazing activities - using pictures as well as minimal text - for each step of every activity.
The projects are grouped under six themes: Amaze, Investigate, Create, Explore, Cook and Move. Kids can learn how to tell time using a potato, pour a sand candle, juggle “like a pro”, fossilize footprints, walk on their hands, make chocolate anthills, ink a fake tattoo, screen-print a t-shirt, blow a chewing-gum bubble inside of a bubble, bake a cake inside an orange, make a disco ball using old CD’s, and much more. (To the consternation of parents, some pranks, such as booby-trapping a bathroom and making edible fake vomit, are also included!)
Because the instructions are so concise and easy to follow, an adult’s help isn’t needed for most of the projects.
Some of the activities are quite basic; some are more complicated. Some are outdoor activities and some would be better inside. However, all of them are fun, and kids will actually be learning some scientific principles too – whether they realize it or not! In fact, some of the activities could be choices for science projects later in the school year.
** Recommended for ages 10 years and up.

Disasters: Natural and Man-Made Catastrophes Through the Centuries, by Brenda Z. Guiberson, 228 pages.
Kids with time on their hands might also be interested in perusing this intriguing, informative book covering some of the most significant and interesting disasters in recorded history.
Young readers are usually fascinated with disasters, and author Brenda Guiberson has described ten of them – some of them caused by man and some which were events of nature – and she has included archival photographs and lots of detail (some of it quite gruesome). Approximately twenty pages are devoted to each disaster.
Included are events such as the San Francisco earthquake of 1906, the sinking of the Titanic in 1912, the Flu Pandemic of 1918, the 1930’s drought (The “Dust Bowl”) on the prairies and Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Most, but not all of the disasters selected for the book, occurred in the United States.  
Guiberson’s book is written in an engaging, easy to read style which helps to bring each event to life for the reader. She describes the causes of each, how they unfolded, how they changed history, and best of all, how survivors managed to persevere and carry on with their lives.
The disasters are arranged in chronological order and further sources of information (both books and websites) are listed at the back of the book.
Teens, preteens and even adults will find this book to be both compelling and enlightening.
** Recommended for ages 10 years and up.

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