Children of China by Alethea Gold

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I found this visually stunning book the last time we made a library trip.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find any for sale.  If you really want to admire it, you may have to find a library that carries it and check it out.

Premise:

This book is a visual record of the children of China.  Alethea Gold and Luca Zordan traveled throughout China to photograph children from a wide variety of locations.  Children are shown wearing widely differing clothing styles, in a variety of settings, and engaging in many different activities.

My thoughts:

This is an awesome book!  It would be a great coffee table book, but it’s probably more important as a culturally diverse look at China’s children.  Children would have a great time looking at what life is like for children in China, and seeing the huge diversity.  What better way to teach them to look beyond stereotypical ideas?

The photography is just wonderful!  I love how they caught kids in the midst of their activities, preventing the book from looking like a series of unnatural portrait shots.  There are kids in Mongolia riding horses, children dressed to the nines in the big city, and children living in a monastery.

In the back of the book there are comments about some of the photos and/or quotes from the children about what they want in life.  The list runs the gamut from wanting a TV to wanting to be an astronaut when they grow up.

I recommend this book to people of all ages.  It’s a great way to learn about the diversity of China through it’s children.  It would be particularly useful as a resource in a social studies class.

Rating: 4 1/2 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

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Fairy World: Enter the Magical and Mysterious Realm by Stella A. Caldwell

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Fairy World came to us from the library of the next town over.  Yes, I’m getting to the end of the stack.  They just have a better selection of books than we have here in town.

Premise:

Fairy World is a guide to all things fairy.  It is presented as the author’s research on fairies, which she is supposed to have seen at various times.  It includes sections on A World of Fairies (location & appearance), Fairy Kingdoms, Enchantment, and Blessings and Curses.  There are also case studies scattered throughout the book, which tell about related creatures (Dryad, Boggart, Selkie, etc.).

My thoughts:

What can I say about this book?  It is completely charming and celebrates the whimsical and enchanting world of fairies (and their kin).  I think the book does an admirable job of briefly covering the many different areas that have to do with fairy lore.  Though I’m a bit old to really appreciate and enjoy this book now, I would have loved it as a child.  I enjoyed anything make-believe and magical.  My girls, of course, love fairies.

I like the illustrations in this book–they’re a fun mixture of enhanced photos, charming drawings, and cobbled-together fantasy lands.  Any child who likes fairies will enjoy all of the visuals.

I would recommend this book for elementary through preteen children.  They are probably the audience most likely to enjoy immersing themselves in the fairy world (though there are sure to be some adult fairy fans out there, too).

Rating: 4 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

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Super Shark Encyclopedia and Other Creatures of the Deep by Derek Harvey

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Super Shark Encyclopedia is another book that came from our out-of-town library trip.  My second son absolutely loves encyclopedia-type books, so I thought he might enjoy looking at this one.

Premise:

This is an encyclopedic book which teaches the reader about many different ocean creatures.  There is a short section at the beginning of the book which shows the different “layers” of the ocean and briefly explains them.  It has sections on Amazing Anatomy, Animal Athletes, Life Stories, Supernatural Senses, and Exploring the Deep.  Creatures are featured using full-color photography, basic statistics, and a short description.  A short glossary in the back helps out with more uncommon terms.

My thoughts:

We really like this book.  It has interesting tidbits of information about many different sea creatures, and that information is perfectly complimented by the wonderful visuals.  It’s short enough that I can look at it with my smaller kids, but contains enough information to keep my elementary-age kids reading it themselves, too.  Personally, I love any book about animals.  This one is quite engaging.

The photos in this book are amazing!  They are clear and colorful, close-up and just plain beautiful.  The pages are quite large so that means the photos are nice and large, too.

I would recommend this book for elementary through preteen children.  The entries are fairly concise and may not contain enough information to satisfy older readers.

Rating: 4 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

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Maker Lab: 28 Super Cool Projects by Jack Challoner

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I found Maker Lab when we went to the library in a nearby town.  I was hoping that we would be able to do a few of the projects in our homeschooling, but that will have to wait.  We’re packing up to move and most of our supplies are languishing in storage right now.

Premise:

This book is aimed at kids who want to do their own maker projects.  The 28 projects fall into four categories: Food For Thought, Around the Home, Water World, and The Great Outdoors.  Each project has a supply list, clear instructions, a sample, and a short explanation about how it works.  The pictures are colorful and engaging, and enhanced by whimsical doodles.  There is also a short glossary at the end of the book to explain some of the more scientific terms.

My thoughts:

If I were a child, I would want this book!  That’s because I’m a perpetual crafter/project-tackler.  Any child who enjoys doing those hands-on projects will get excited when they see the awesome projects they can complete themselves.

The illustrations and projects are great, but there are only 28 total projects.  So while this is a fun book, it will not keep the dedicated project-maker occupied for too long.  Once you’ve tackled all of the projects, it would be a nice gesture to pass it on to a friend.

I would recommend this book for children of all ages.  The younger ones will need help with the projects, and the older ones will gain satisfaction from completing the projects on their own.

Rating: 4 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

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The Unofficial Holy Bible for Minecrafters: A Children’s Guide to the Old & New Testament by Garrett Romines & Christopher Miko

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I spotted The Unofficial Holy Bible for Minecrafters at the library and had to bring it home to check it out.  My boys are very into Minecraft, as I’m sure many other kids are.  What better than to illustrate Bible stories using Minecraft illustrations?!

Premise:

This book contains an assortment of Bible stories which are illustrated Minecraft-style.  The illustrations are actual builds which somebody did in the Minecraft game.  The choice of stories is random and this is by no means a complete Bible.  Also the text of the stories is vastly shortened, resembling the style of comic books.

My thoughts:

Personally, I wouldn’t choose to sit down and read this book because Minecraft doesn’t appeal to me.  However, my boys love Minecraft and I can see how this book would hook them into reading about the stories of the Bible while enjoying the visuals of the Minecraft world.

Kids will not gain great understanding of the Bible by reading this book, but it is a fun way for them to enjoy the stories in another format.  I’ve found that younger boys in particular seem to gravitate towards a comics-style Bible versus a regular one.

This book would make a great gift, or addition to a church’s library.  It would also be a good way to get a child to read who is interested in Minecraft, but not much of a reader.

Rating: 4 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

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Skylanders Universe: The Complete Collection by Cavan Scott & Brandon T. Snider

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Slime recently checked out Skylanders Universe: The Complete Collection from the library.  He and his brother are very into the Skylanders game.  It’s a craze that I don’t get, but I’m not a young person!

This book is fairly simple.  It’s an encyclopedia-style book with entries on all of the Skylanders, though it’s missing the newest ones.  The layout is nice and the illustrations are great!  It also shows you the different swaps you can do with Swap-Force Skylanders.

This isn’t high-quality literature by any means, but it is a nice book for a child who loves Skylanders.

 

Until next time…

Lori

Standing Small: A Celebration of 30 Years of the LEGO Minifigure by Nevin Martell

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Son number two loves this reference book!  Standing Small is a book that really celebrates the LEGO minifigure–for all those addicted to collecting them.  (That would describe our boys!)  It starts with the origins of the minifigure, and then shows figures from some of the major series.  This includes Star Wars, Knights, Space, City, etc.

With some of the figures they show how they changed throughout the years.  That’s interesting to see.  There’s also a double-page spread in the back that shows some fan-built minifigures.

I would recommend this book for those who are obsessed with LEGOs, like my boys are.  This book is by no means exhaustive, but it is a fun addition to any LEGO library.

Until next time…

Lori

The Official Pokemon Handbook by Maria S. Barbo

Pokemon Handbook

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My second son loves all things Pokémon.  He inherited this obsession partially from my niece.  Now that she is older, she is passing on a few of her Pokémon items to my son, including The Official Pokemon Handbook.  It features 151 Pokémon–from Bulbasaur to Mew.  There are also some fun extra sections, like how to care for your Pokémon and information about the trainers and gym leaders.

My son got the book home and proceeded to devour it–over and over and over again.  This is the child who loves reference-type books.  If there is a kid in your life who loves Pokémon and factoids, they will enjoy this book.  It’s older, but there are still quite a few of them on the market.

Until next time…

Lori

I Love That Minifigure by Jen Anstruther, Jonathan Green, Kate Lloyd, and Simon Guerrier

Love That Minifigure

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I Love That Minifigure is another sturdy LEGO reference book to add to the collection of LEGO fans everywhere!  It highlights some of the rarest and most interesting LEGO minifigures produced throughout the years.

There are eleven sections in the book: Everyday Heroes, You’re History!, Out of This World, You’re My Hero!, Spooky and Scary, The World’s a Stage, One of a Kind, Wild at Heart, Rotten Rogues, We Have the Power!, and All-Time Icons.  Each page in a section shows one minifigure and gives interesting information about that figure.

As with all the other LEGO books, it’s well-designed and a pleasure to peruse.  Another great book for LEGO fans!

 

Until next time…

The Berserker & Slime

Minecraft: Blockopedia by Alex Wiltshire

Blockopedia

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Minecraft: Blockopedia is an interesting book because it’s hexagonal.  I’ve never seen a book shaped like this before.  It’s quite sturdy and has a built in ribbon bookmark.  As I handle the book, the binding seems a little weak to me.  It’s probably because the book is heavy and the binding small–making it feel like it could tear if not handled properly.

My second son likes this as a reference book.  Each two-page spread focuses on one block or other substance that is in Minecraft.  It tells about the function of the item, how to make it, and a little extra information.

The pictures, format, and overall construction are very good.  I’d definitely recommend this book for any young person who is into Minecraft!

 

Until next time…

Lori & Slime

LEGO Star Wars Character Encyclopedia: Updated and Expanded by Hannah Dolan, Elizabeth Dowsett, Clare Hibbert, Shari Last, and Victoria Taylor

LEGO SW Character Encyclopedia

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LEGO Star Wars Character Encyclopedia is an updated version of the previous book by the same title (minus the updated and expanded part).  It is a fun book for any child (or adult) who is really into LEGOs and Star Wars.  My boys love it!

It details each of the Star Wars minifigures that have come out through the years.  Each page contains the kind of trivial facts that LEGO Star Wars fans will enjoy and appreciate.  The photography and book design are great.  The only problem is that the binding tends to split rather easily because of the insert in the front that holds the exclusive minifigure.

If you buy it new, it comes with an advanced version of the white Boba Fett minifigure.

Until next time…

Lori & Slime

Great LEGO Sets: A Visual History by Daniel Lipkowitz with Kathryn Hill, Helen Murray & Rosie Peet

Great Lego Sets

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Great LEGO Sets: A Visual History is a great reference book for LEGO fans, that comes with an exclusive micro-scale space cruiser.  We just checked out our copy from the library, so we didn’t get to try out the set.  😦

This is a very visually striking book that is brimming with awesome LEGO sets through the years.  It goes from the 1950’s through the present time (2010’s).  The beginning of the book contains a timeline, which is followed with a section on how a LEGO set is made.  In each decade’s section you get a bit of information about the direction that LEGO pursued and see some key sets from that time period.  On each set’s page, you learn some interesting information about that particular one.

The thing that I like best about this book is that it’s LEGO, LEGO, LEGO!!!  I recommend this book for LEGO fans of all ages.

Later,

Slime & Lori

LEGO Legends of Chima: Character Encyclopedia by Beth Landis Hester and Heather Seabrook

Chima Encyclopedia

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LEGO Legends of Chima: Character Encyclopedia is a kids reference book with lots of pictures that is all about LEGO Chima.  It has a lot of information that fans would want to know about LEGO Chima characters and vehicles.  This isn’t about all of the Chima sets or the buildings.  The book also comes with an exclusive Firox minifig.  I think Chima fans will really like it!

It’s good for school-age kids and doesn’t have anything objectionable in it.

 

Later,

Slime

Disney Learning Wonderful World of Animals by Dr. Donald Moore

Disney Animals

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Disney Learning Wonderful World of Animals is a reference book about animals.  It has sections about mammals, amphibians, birds, insects and fish.  I like the pictures in this book .  As far as I can tell, there is nothing objectionable in it.  I would recommend it for school-age kids, though younger kids would like the pictures.

Later dudes.

Bubba

LEGO Minifigure Year by Year: A Visual History by Gregory Farshtey with Daniel Lipkowitz

Lego MinifigsThis post contains an affiliate link.

LEGO Minifigure Year by Year: A Visual History is a book about LEGO minifigs from the years 1978 to 2013.  What I like about it is the cool LEGO guys.  There are lots of unique LEGO guys.  I think it would be best for kids.

Later,

Slime

OTHER COMMENTARY:

Lori — This is just the kind of book that my son loves–lots of photos and encyclopedia-type entries.  The photos are crisp, colorful and engaging.  The contents are formatted very nicely, and a lot of information is shared in the concise text.  I would give this a big thumbs-up for all LEGO fans, whether a child or adult.  It’s just really fun to see the variety of minifigures throughout the years.