Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Handy Answer Book for Kids (and Parents) by Gina Misiroglu

The Handy Answer Book for Kids (and Parents) by Gina Misiroglu
Geared Towards: Ages 4 and up
Published By: Visible Ink
Publication Date: October 2009
ISBN: 978-1-57859-219-7

Being a parent is truly one of the most amazing opportunities I think any person can ever have the pleasure of experiencing. It's full of up's and down's, but there's almost never a dull moment. Of course, as any parent will know, having a child can also be very enlightening. Things you didn't know your child could come up with, they'll inquire about. Why is the sky blue? How does a bird fly? What causes leg pains while one is sleeping? Why does a cat pur?

These are just a few of the many questions children love to ask, and when they do ask them we, as parents, are expected to have an educated answer to offer. Sometimes, depending on the age of your child, you can get away with a simple "Because it just is." It's highly unlikely though that this response will generate the desired response. The more likely scenario is the one where the child will continue to hound and harrass you for a fact based answer until you either find it or make something up. And let's face it, nobody wants to lie to their kid because they don't honestly have a clue what the answer to their question is. Yet, what are you supposed to do when you don't have a good explaination? Some might turn to the internet or the dusty encyclopedia set that rests, untouched, on the family bookshelf. But what if there were an easier place to find the answers to your child's interesting and highly imaginative questions? Now there is...

The Handy Answer Book for Kids (and Parents) by Gina Misiroglu is the perfect reference resource for parents, teachers, and kids alike. Written in a clear and easy to understand fashion, this book is exactly as it's name suggests, a handy answer book. I really love the way the author has chosen to breakdown the contents of the book, because it makes it easy to navigate through when looking for information on a particular subject. For instance, everything related to Outer Space is in it's own chapter. Next follows a segment on 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.

If you know what category your child's question would fall under, you only need to flip that section to search out an answer. What's wonderful is that this is a book you can really turn to in all those "I dunno" moments when your child asks you a question you simply haven't got a clue how to answer. Granted, there's no guarantee your child's question will be one that is featured in this compilation; however, with nearly 800 queries touched on within its pages I think it's fairly safe to say you've got a good chance at finding the information you need.

I should also mention that the author has been incredibly thorough when collecting the data for her book. Every question that is listed is paired with a thorough and comprehensive answer which parents can adapt to their own situations. In other words, say a parent finds the answer to his child's question but the answer is too indepth for the child of this particular age to be able to absorb and understand it. Not a problem. All the parent has to do is shorten the given answer to something a little more age appropriate. This way, the parent can be certain he is offering the best answer possible to his child, but he's also able to do so in a way that doesn't, hopefully, leave the child with more questions than answers.

I'll tell you what, even if you don't have a child who's quite to that critical stage of 24-7 curiosity, this is a book you'll still want to get your hands on. Why is that? That's an easy question, and one I don't even have to look up the answer for in the book. (hahaha) The reason is because The Handy Answer Book for Kids (and Parents) is actually really interesting. Reading through it, in order to write this review, I found myself constantly amazed with the knowledge I was consuming from each page. It's a true wealth of information- useful to useless and everything in between.

My thanks go out to online publicist, Lisa Roe, for giving me this fantastic review opportunity. This is a book I guarantee will not get set on a dusty old shelf to become forgotten and outdated. Nope, this is one I know is going to get a lot of use in this house. So, thanks again, Lisa!

OUR RATING: 5 hearts

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Another Faust by Daniel & Dina Nayeri

Another Faust by Daniel & Dina Nayeri
Geared Towards: Ages 14 and up
Published By: Candlewick Press
Publication Date: August 2009
ISBN: 978-0-7636-3707-1

We've all heard about selling your soul to the Devil, but what if you really did? In Daniel and Dina Nayeri's new reimagined Faustian novel, that's exactly what happens.

Across the globe, five unhappy children are mysteriously swept away from their lives in the regular world, never to be seen or heard from again. Reemerging several years later, distinctly and totally different than before, the Faust five are ready to reek havoc like never before. For what's a deal with the Devil if there's no fun involved?

Given over to a lust like no other, the Faust children (as they've since come to know themselves) have become more than mysterious teenagers out to have a little fun. They are in it to win it, and there is no losing. Beauty, fame, and fortune are more than mere petty pipe dreams. For the Fausts they are a way of life. Each having made a very lucrative, albeit chilling deal with the beautiful governess, Madame Vileroy, now proudly embodies his or her most sought after "gifts". Though by no more than sheer evil the teens are able to see their utmost dreams come alive. No more wishing. No more hoping. Now it's all coming together and each is getting exactly what he/she wanted more than anything else. Except, no one thought twice about the consequences.

Can the Faust children ever learn to see the error of their ways? Will they be bound to their perverse ways of life forever or will they ever truly take notice of the driving force affecting each of them? Will any ever be able to repossess his/her own soul and turn over a new way of life? Or will the cheating, stealing, hiding, and lying carry on with them throughout the rest of eternity?

Readers will be captivated by the twisted and intriguing world brought to life in this eerie tale. A wonderfully nefarious debut by Daniel & Dina Nayeri, Another Faust depicts, in a whole new way, the ultimate self serving sacrifice as originally brought to the table by German legend.

OUR RATING: 5 hearts