Thursday, March 1, 2012

SPL Shelf Life [kids]

Are You “Normal”? by Mark Shulman, 176 pages.
Children often worry about being like other kids, and fitting in. Mark Shulman’s new book, Are You Normal,addresses this issue. And as they read this bookkids will be able to rate themselves on a “weird-o-meter”. That’s right – a weird-o-meter!
Readers can complete a quiz at the beginning of each chapter,and in the following pages they can find out how they compare to other kids all across North America. Each chapter addresses a separate topic eg. family, friends, school, sports, habits, tech gadgets and food. The questions and answers include both the expected and the unexpected. For example: Do you bite your fingernails? Do you ever bite your toenails?  Do you like your name? Where do you and your friends most like to hang out? How do you get to school each day? Where do you usually sit on a school bus? Have you ever “faked” being sick in order to miss school? Do you make your bed every day? What’s your favourite ice cream flavour? How many text messages do you send on an average day?
If the answer to the first question (Do you bite your fingernails?) is “yes”, then readers will learn that this is quite normal - so do 50% of kids. If readers answer “yes” to the second question (Do you bite your toenails?), they will learn that they are quite unusual in this habit. And so on.
Kids will probably discover that in the end, they aren’t very different than others - they’re probably more “normal” than they might think, and whatever “weird” habits they might have are shared by others.
Attractive and appealing in appearance, this National Geographic Book for Kids is well-organized and includes the kinds of questions and topics that will interest school-aged readers, who will learn about themselves and others in a fun, humorous way. Quick and easy to read, it’s the type of book that can be put down and readily resumed as time permits.
** Recommended for ages 8 to 13 years.
You Just Can’t Help It! Your Guide to the Wild and Wacky World of Human Behavior, by Jeff Szpirglas, 64 pages.
Is human behavior truly “wild and wacky”?
After reading this book, kids will probably agree that yes, some of our behavior is quite wacky. However, it’s not our fault! Science is at work behind it. There are scientific explanations for many of the ways we act.
Why do we usually yawn a few seconds after hearing someone else yawn?
Why do we “tear up” when we are exposed to onion vapours, but not when we smell other things like oranges or cinnamon? Is there a difference between these tears and the tears we shed when crying?
Did you know that people laugh much less when they are alone than when they are with others? Why is that?
Did you know that when people kiss, nearly twice as many people turn their heads to the right as to the left?
Our senses influence how we act in many ways. For example, experiments have determined that people are more likely to help others when they are smelling something nice rather than something stinky. Smells influence what we dream, too.
Experiments in stores have determined that slow background music (instead of music with a faster tempo) increases sales as much as 38% - because people stay longer in the store. And it’s been proven many times that colours influence the way we feel – for example, bright oranges and reds energize our bodies, while “cooler colours” such as green, tend to relax us. Why?
How does our birth order affect our personality or predict some of the ways we act?
Author Jeff Szpirglas has selected some very intriguing facts and studies about human behavior, and explained them in a clear, concise fashion for students. Many visuals and some do-it-yourself experiments are included in this fun science book, which is certain to keep the reader’s attention.
** Recommended for ages 8 to 12 years. 

These reviews appeared in The Stratford Gazette on March 1, 2012. Written by Sally Hengeveld, Librarian.

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