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Pizor (London, England)
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India - Culture Smart!: The Essential Guide to Customs and Culture
India - Culture Smart!: The Essential Guide to Customs and Culture
by Becky Stephen
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.46

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book and a huge help, 17 Feb. 2011
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I've been waiting to review this book because I was hoping to go to India, but alas, my trip fell through. In any case India - Culture Smart was still a great read and certainly seemed to prepare me for what to expect in India.Obviously, this is not a tour book and will not tell you about cheap hotels and where to find great food, but what it will do is tell you about the Indian culture and what to expect not just in day to day life, but also in the work place as well as every aspect of your life while in India. If you're planning on moving to India, this book would be indispensable.


CodeQuest: Hieroglyphs
CodeQuest: Hieroglyphs
by SEAN Callery
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A neat journey throughancient times, 7 Nov. 2010
This review is from: CodeQuest: Hieroglyphs (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I ordered this with the idea I'd read it with my 6 year old so we could do the puzzles together. Somehow that never seemed to work. I showed it to my daughter a few times but she never seemed to excited about it. I know she flipped through it but I don't think she ever did the puzzles. I think she might be a bit too young for it. Also, she's more interested in Greek mythology. I'm hoping after Greek mythology, we can look at Egyptian and then this book will be perfect for her.

The book itself is very informative with lots of little factoids and bubbles of information. It begins with a good description of how to use the book, life in ancient Egypt, hieroglyphics, mummification, etc. The description and detail given is fairly introductory but still quite informative. If you already know a fair amount about this period in history, you probably won't learn much new information.

It's not until about 10 pages into the book that the fictional story begins. Though it's written in the first person, the writing style gave me the feel of the old Infocom games such as Zork. "I was still laughing when a woman bumped into me. As I stumbled and fell, I caught sight of a green scarf held in place by a golden, cat-shaped brooch." As you can see, the author doesn't add a lot of description or emotion into his writing. There's just enough to move the plot along. But I suppose you're not buying the book just for it's prose, it is more of a factual book with a game in it as well. As you move through the mystery, you learn more about codes and even the Rosetta Stone.

The book is fun to read through and informative for the younger audience. I think once my daughter decides to give it her full attention, she'll really enjoy it. It would be nice if the story were written a bit better, but all in all, it's still a good book and one worth having if you're interested in ancient Egyptian culture.


NG Kids Infopedia (National Geographic Kids Almanac UK ed)
NG Kids Infopedia (National Geographic Kids Almanac UK ed)
by National Geographic
Edition: Paperback

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the COOLEST book ever!, 2 Nov. 2010
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I ordered this for my almost 7 year old daughter who is very into facts, figures, science and has a subscription to National Geographic. Too be honest, I wasn't expecting much. I've bought quite a few of these fact books for her and though they're all interesting, most facts I already know and even my daughter has heard a lot of them before, too. They often aren't very long, maybe 60 pages, and are a bit dull and dry. So I had a feeling the National Geographic Infopedia might be similar. Let me say how wrong I was! The book looks like a thick magazine more then a traditional paperback book. That alone makes it more interesting simply because it's a little different then the others. But then I opened up the book and flipped through it. My first thought was, "wow, this is soooooo cool!" The book is 352 pages full of color pages, facts, factoids, games, maps, a little history, a lot of geography, tons of animals, things to do at home and even help with homework. In a nutshell, this book covers it all (okay, yes it can't cover everything, but this book does a good job trying). I especially liked the fact that I learned quite a lot from the book. I would challenge any adult to read this book, cover to cover, and say they already knew everything in it.

The book is broken down into 10 chapters:
Your World
Amazing Animals
Going Green
Super Science
Geography Rocks
History Happens
Culture Connection
Awesome Adventure
Wonders of Nature
Future World

Most of the chapter headings are self explanatory, but here are a few samples pages you'll find in the book:
An article about a lynx that was near extinction but is on the way back
Meet the Dalai Lama
Vote for the new 7 wonders of the world
A simple breakdown of the definition of different vertebrates and invertebrates
Animal myths busted
Frog facts (and plenty of other pages of facts on tons of other animals)
How to Tell a Cat by its Spots - this is a really cool, yet simple list with photos that shows you, well, how to tell different cats by their spots
Who Ate What? A page all about dinosaurs and what herbivores and carnivores ate, but even cooler, how we know what they ate (there are 14 pages on dinosaurs)
Tips to Save the Earth
Eco Houses
Ways to Volunteer
3 Domains of Life - bacteria, archaea, eukarya
What is Life? (on a bacterial level)
Life Cycle of a Sta
Time Life of Earth
5 Tips for Staying Safe on the Internet
How to Decode Your Dreams
Your Amazing Brain
The Political World vs Physical World
Finding Your Way Around - all about latitude and longitude
Types of Government
Leaders of the World - a complete list of every country, it's leader and title and when the took office
Mythology
Spis Who Changed the World
Girls Rule - about 2 Egyptian queens
Straight Talk - all about different cultures and how we shouldn't judge
What's Your Chinese Horoscope? Are you a Rat? Or maybe a Pig?
Ramadan - what is it all about?
How to make your own gingerbread house or snow globe
World Religions
Language - sign language, braille and 15 ways to say hello
5 Cool Dudes Who Changed the World - all about explorers
15 Things to do Before You Grow Up
How to Write a Perfect Essay
Types of ESSAYS
Don't be a Copycat
World Climate
All About Lightning!!!
Natural Disasters
Water - there are several pages on the ocean, droughts, the water cycle,water facts, etc
The Future World - what will it be like

Sorry this is such a long review, but this book is so full of information and so much fun to read that I wanted to do it justice. The pages I listed above are just a taste of what's actually inside. As I said, the book is over 350 pages and most articles are only 1 page long so there's plenty of room for lots of quick facts. What I didn't list above was the geography section. In addition to 2 full spreads (4 pages total) dedicated to each continent, there's an entire section for every country of the world. This includes their flag, area, population, capital, currency, religion(s) and language(s). Throughout this section, there are factoids such as 5 cool things about Guatemala, Israel, Italy, etc.

There are also plenty of busy time games in here, such as find all of the animals hiding in the drawing of the city, help aunt Bertha make 5 stops without making any right turns or driving on the same path twice, etc. All fun games to play when traveling or relaxing at home. The games are interesting enough to be entertaining without being too hard or too easy (aimed at probably 6-10 years old).

What I love about this book (there are many things but I'll try to be brief):
is that it uses lots of facts that we haven't all heard dozens of times before
it's brief but still detailed enough to be informative but not heavy or boring
the layouts are so eye catching you can't help yourself but read every one of them
it covers lots of countries or cultures that you rarely read about (an article about Mongolia and hunting with golden eagles?!?)
there is no bias toward any country, political belief or religion - everything is viewed equally

Clearly I can't say enough good things about this book. If you have a child or know a child that loves facts and info on our world, this book is a must have (for adults that have the same interest too, I really don't think you'll be disappointed). A final note, I kept National Geographic Infopedia beside my computer while writing this review. Twice my daughter came out of her room (she likes to read at bedtime) and asked when I'd be done with the book so she could read it for herself. When I told her I'd give it to her tomorrow, she stormed off. To me, that's a sign of a good book.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 24, 2011 1:03 PM GMT


Philips Imageo Tealights Six-Set
Philips Imageo Tealights Six-Set
Offered by zisaline
Price: £77.45

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a clever idea, 31 Oct. 2010
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I ordered these on a whim and I must say, it was one of my better ideas. They are absolutely brilliant! The design is ingenious. And they're so simple to use even my three year old can turn them on and off. And the light they give off is amazing! Okay, let me be a bit more organized about this. First, the design is very simple and surprisingly elegant. The light itself looks like a small votive with a small white Christmas light stuck in it. On it's own, I wasn't impressed by this at all. But when you drop it into the frosted candle holder it comes with (picture a wide frosted shot glass), it suddenly looks exactly like a gently flickering candle! Even more amazing is that the flicker is completely random and natural looking. Unless you knew it was a light bulb, I don't think you'd ever guess in a million years that it was not a candle.

Second is how easy it is to use. As I said, my three year old can turn them on and off.Whether the light is in the candle holder or not, with a flick of the wrist, you just tilt the light upside down and then back again and it turns the light on. Repeat the motion and it turns it off. Pretty simple, huh? I haven't tested to see how long a charge will last, but Phillips claims it's good for approx. 11 hours and I think 500 charges. Not bad in my book.

You might ask yourself why buy this when you can just as easily, and for a lot less money, buy votive candles. The answer is simple. Safety. I have three kids in my house, the oldest being seven. There is no chance of me ever leaving any open flame lit in my house when the kids are up.I'm also paranoid about fire so I don't like lit candles for more then 20 min or so. However, I love the idea of candles. They create such a wonderful ambiance it's a shame not to enjoy them when you can. But if you have young children or pets, candles may not be an option for you. In comes Phillips Imageo Tealights. There is no risk of fire. They don't get hot to the touch so they're perfectly safe to have around your house. They create a wonderfully warm, soft ambiance wherever they're placed. So far I'm VERY pleased with the product and would definitely consider buying more in the series as well as giving them as gifts.


Personally, I Blame My Fairy Godmother
Personally, I Blame My Fairy Godmother
by Claudia Carroll
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A great chic lit book, 19 Oct. 2010
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The first chapter, I thought, was a little over the top. I found Jessie, the main character, was a little too annoying, spent too much money too easily, wasn't too bright, etc. I thought from there the book was going to be far too predictable and read like a sequel to Confessions of a Shopaholic. I decided to read one more chapter and give it a chance. If it didn't get better, then I'd donate my copy to the local library. Much to my surprise, however, the book improved dramatically. Jessie wasn't quite as ridiculous as I first thought and her situation was a little understandable. Though the book does follow the predictable chic lit format, it does so at a very pleasant pace. At no point did I think the book droned on or that I need to skip whole chapters.

Personally I Blame my Fairy Godmother is a delightful quick read, perfect for the airplane, lying on the beach or reading on the tube (which is what I did). It ticks every chick lit box but does so rather sweetly. The tone of the book is exactly like sitting down with a best friend over coffee. I would definitely recommend this to friends. In fact, instead of donating my copy to the library, I'm first going to loan it to all my friends so they can hopefully enjoy it as much as I did.


BaByliss 2775U Big Hair Rotating Styler
BaByliss 2775U Big Hair Rotating Styler
Offered by Factory Live
Price: £79.99

68 of 76 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very cool, 22 Sept. 2010
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
My styler arrived in the mail the other day and I couldn't wait to try it. It wasn't nearly as intimidating as I thought it would be. I had heard of air wands before but hadn't had the chance to try one. The thing I thought was a little odd about this one is the motor that sort of brushes and curls your hair for you. Very weird! But still, I thought I'd give it a try. I was shocked to find that it was much easier to use then I expected. I was afraid I would end up with the styler tightly knotted into my hair but nothing of the sort happened.The finger controls are very well placed and easy to use. If you make a mistake and the brush is turning clockwise instead of anti-clockwise, just flick the switch the other way. It's as simple as that!

The bristles are also much softer then I expected. I thought they would be the hard plastic kind of bristles, but instead they are slightly soft and flexible. The styler has 3 different temperature settings but each one is connected to the speed of the brush. So the highest heat setting turns the brush the fastest, medium heat is medium speed and cool is slow. I won't pretend to say that I styled my hair as well as the model on the Amazon commercial, but I can say I was able to blow dry my hair very quickly and surprisingly easily. My hair had a nice bounce and curl to it and wasn't nearly as frizzy as it usually is.

If you're in a hurry in the morning, they suggest you blow dry your hair with a regular dryer until it's about 80% dry, then switch to the styler. As I said, the model probably does her hair perfectly, but I don't have the time or patience to section my hair properly, etc. Not with three kids running around in the morning. But still, I'm able to create a nice style with the BaByliss 2775U Big Hair Styler. All in all I'd say it's a nice addition to my morning routine.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 14, 2010 12:56 PM GMT


Typing Tournament Version 2
Typing Tournament Version 2
Offered by hixxysoft
Price: £14.50

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very impressive, 16 Sept. 2010
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I'm a huge fan of the EdAlive software range. My 6 year old also has the Baggin' The Dragon math game which is excellent. Typing Tournament is very similar to the other EdAlive games. From what I saw when I watched my daughter play this, she was first given a lesson, then lots and lots of practice. So what does it look like? The onscreen keyboard is divided by color and the computer hands have color coded band aids on each finger, so the you know which keys each finger can use to type. So, for instance, the pinky fingers are light blue and so are all of the punctuation keys and keys on the outer edges of the keyboard. There are animated demonstrations of the computer fingers moving from the home keys to the various letters around the keyboard to give you an idea of how it should look. Afterwards, you're given practice words to type. When you think you've had enough practice, you can then take some challenge tests to see how fast you can type and how strong your skills are.

The program looked excellent to me. I'm a very fast 'hunt n' peck' typist, but never learned proper typing. When i get the time, I want to sit down with this program and learn to type properly. Typing Tournament looks like a fun, challenging way to get anyone of any age to type proficiently. Saying that, my 6 year old seemed to prefer the math game to the typing game. I think its because typing seems harder for her and requires a commitment from the user. My daughter often gave up and tried typing the challenges with just two fingers. Perhaps she's a little young for a serious typing program, but I think she just wasn't interested in learning how to type regardless of the program. I'm going to put this aside for a little while, but bring it out again in a few months when maybe she's ready for it. I certainly think this is the perfect program to teach anyone to type so I think the issue is more with my daughter then with the software.


Flip the Flaps: Things That Go
Flip the Flaps: Things That Go
by Anita GANERI
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars A little different format, but not bad, 31 Aug. 2010
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I got this for my 3 year old twin boys. They were very excited to flip through the book but I think they are a little young for it (they turn three in 6 weeks). This book falls into a very narrow category; it's more detailed then a My First Lift the Flap Book, but isn't as in depth as typical car and motor books get for older kids. I would say it's probably just right for 3.5 to 5 year olds.

But maybe I'm getting ahead of myself. First, let me explain the format. I was intrigued to find out what they meant by 'flip the flaps.' Basically, picture a 2 page spread across a book. Each spread features a different type of vehicle, such as airplanes, another page has diggers, another one fire engines, etc. There are not flaps to lift like a traditional lift-the-flap book. This definitely isn't a book where you see the car from the outside, then you lift the flap, then you see the engine underneath. Instead, in the middle of the 2 page spread, is another page that's a third of the size of the other pages. The illustrations match the other two pages perfectly. When you first turn to that spread, you see this smaller 'flap' which has 3 questions on it about the type of vehicle you're looking at. So for airplanes, it might have something like 1) How do airplane's wings work? 2) Who flies a plane? 3) What makes helicopters fly? Flip the flap over and now you see inside the airplane. You also get three answers. The answers are usually 1 sentence long, so they're not very detailed, but they get the point across. 1) The wings use the air around them to push the plane up as it flies along. 2) A pilot flies a plane. He or she makes it take off, go up and down, turn left and right, and land. 3) A rotor on the top of a helicopter spins very fast, and pulls it up into the air.

Aside from the flap in the middle, there is one big blurb about the type of vehicles and then 3 different pictures of such vehicles. So if it's air vehicles, they might have 3 pictures of an airplane, helicopter and a glider (1 picture of each). There are no photos in the book, everything is made up of nice handmade drawings (no computer artwork). As I said, the info is still pretty basic but is certainly too detailed for under 3, though they might like looking at the pictures anyway. I would say it's a nice move from the simple lift-the-flap books to the more in depth books your child may be getting ready for. My twins certainly like to 'read' it on their own. The book didn't do much for me, but it could be that I'm far from a motor-head. Still, I think this will probably be a very nice series for the 3-5 age range.


Numbers Up Baggin the Dragon Version 2
Numbers Up Baggin the Dragon Version 2

5.0 out of 5 stars My 6.5 year old LOVES this game!, 22 Aug. 2010
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I asked my 6.5 year old how she would rate this game out of 5 stars. At first she gave it 5 stars then she changed her mind to 100 stars. That's enough for me, but I'm sure you'd like more detail. Numbers Up Baggin the Dragon plays like a board game. You can play against the computer or a friend. Each player can then choose their piece and then they can change how the piece appears. For instance, my daughter chose a blonde girl, but you can choose boys or girls with different hair and skin color or animal heads such as a dog, cat, horse, etc. You can then chose which board you want to play on. There's a castle, forest, etc and then you can choose your age range and what level you start at. Age ranges are 5-6, 6-7 (there's an A and B option), etc and then within each age range you can then choose your level, so there's clearly a lot of game play for your child as well as room to grow and learn. Incidentally, you can also chose a set time limit to play for or a number of turns to play.

So how do you play? I have to say, my daughter is the expert and not me. Once I loaded it on her computer she was off and running. At no point did I have to explain anything to her or help her through confusing sections which tells me this game is very well designed and written rather well for a 6.5 year old to be able to do it herself without having to read long, boring unclear instructions. So I decided to watch her play for a bit and see if I can figure it out. Just like a board game you start by rolling the dice, then you make your move. When you land on a regular game space, you get a math question. Each time, the child gets a completely different type of math question. So they may get a questions about sequence, weights, addition and subtraction, etc. And of course the questions asked will depend on what age range and level you set at the beginning of the game. Some questions my daughter was asked were things such as: Put the heaviest object on the left through to the lightest on the right using a buffalo, tiger, large dog and a mouse; put the days of the week in order; looking at a set of playing cards, which card comes next in the sequence - 2 of spades, 4 of spades, 6 of spades, then what?; sometimes there are straight forward addition or subtraction questions which is done under a time limit so the child can see how many they can get right in 30 seconds. In the 6-7 range the questions were what is 6-0?, 3+4, etc. As you move around the board, you can also land on special tiles. If you land on a gray tile you go in the stocks. Here you have to answer a math question correctly in order to get out. If you answer it incorrectly, then you stay in the stocks until you get a correct answer.

The game ends when you have reached either the time you set at the beginning of the game or the number of turns you've chosen. If you were playing the castle board, your strength against the dragon is determined by your score and the your courage is determined by a random roll of the dice, but I suppose that won't change in any board setting, just the animation of the battle will change. But there is a nice long animation (maybe a minute or so) of the battle between you and the dragon. The animation is nicely done, but don't expect graphics to rival the newest x-box game or anything like that. Still, it is good quality and fun to watch. My daughter thought it was a very cool ending to the game.

I would definitely recommend this game to kids who don't particularly enjoy math because it certainly makes math fun and interesting. I would say it falls under the game category of not realizing you're learning which is always a plus in my book. But it would also be an excellent game for kids who love math because the questions get more and more challenging as they go along. Overall it's an excellent learning tool that kids will love. There are plenty of customizable options to make the game play fresh and new every time you play as well as plenty of levels and age ranges. As a parent, I don't think you'll be disappointed with this purchase and as a child, you'll be thrilled your parents bought this for you.


US Punctuation (Basher)
US Punctuation (Basher)
by Mary Budzik
Edition: Paperback

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book to learn punctuation, 20 Aug. 2010
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I love this book. It's actually fun to read and it looks cool, too. When I think of books on punctuation I usually think of thick, dry, dull books that put me to sleep within minutes of cracking the cover. This book couldn't be further from that. The format is light, small, bright and easy to read. Don't get me wrong, they do not over simplify definitions, they just have a clear and light format that brightens up the page. As far as any punctuation book goes, I think this will definitely appeal to kids more then any other book on the market.

But enough about its appearance, what matters, obviously, is what's inside and what's inside this book is an excellently written, concise book on basic punctuation. The book is divided by groups of punctuation (Up in the Air, The Comma Crew, Divide and Conquer, etc) and then each item is given its own page. So, for instance, in the chapter called Up in the Air the book gives 1 page to the basic definition and types of punctuation you would find up in the air, such as quotes.Then the next page goes into more detail about what quotes do, when to use them, etc. Each type of punctuation only gets 1 page so you don't have to worry about long winded definitions or definitions and examples spread out over several pages and sections. On the opposite page is a cute cartoon similar to what you see on the cover. Again, this helps keep the format light and fun and far from too wordy and boring. At the bottom of the page is a brief DO and DON'T section which gives you a few more tips or tricks.

At the end of the book is a very good glossary and section on basic grammar as well as a poster. Though I haven't pulled the poster out of the book, as far as I can tell, it's just the little cartoon characters you see in the book. It doesn't seem to add very much but I guess it could look nice on your child's wall.

The only negative thing about the book is that I wish they had either more examples or little quizzes where you could test and practice what you just learned.So I guess maybe I should give it 4.5 stars, but since you can't give half stars, I decided to round up because otherwise this book is brilliant.

All in all I would say this is an excellent punctuation book for anyone to keep by their computer. It's probably a little too complicated for children just learning to write, but would probably be fine for ages 8 and up. I consider myself pretty good with punctuation, but was still able to learn a few things from this guide.I definitely wish I had it when I was in high school and university. If you want something that's fast, to the point, enjoyable to read and extremely helpful, then buy this book!


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