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The Book Of...How? Paperback – Illustrated, 19 Apr 2010
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A highly collectible series of question-and-answer books.
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The structure of this book is simple - on each page is a question starting "How..." with a short and simple 'answer'. On each page there is also a further 'interesting fact' related to the topic.
There is no rhyme or reason I could see to the order of pages, so it's obviously design for the reader to dip into at random. Some of the questions and answers are OK, but many are frustratingly information-free. For example "How do waves get as big as a house?" is answered with "Earthquakes and volcanoes happen underwater". This is not the answer to 'How' these waves are formed - at best, it is an answer to 'What causes...'. The authors also cheat by including "How many.." as a "How" question - although credit is due for getting the number of planets right (8, as Pluto is no longer classed as a planet).
So here's my problem:
- in many cases the answers do not really address the question fully
- if you know the subject, you could give your child a fuller answer, but then why do you need this book?
- the text (especially the 'interesting fact' bubbles) is too hard for a younger child, but the explanations are too simplistic for an intelligent 10 year old.
In conclusion, this is not a book that you could leave a young child to read themselves. The best use would be to prompt topics for an interesting discussion, provided you have the further knowledge to pursue the subject beyond the scant resources of this book.
Again, I went through this book with my son, taking a couple of days to go through the sections. This book is more factual (or at least should be) than Why and again has Did You Know boxes so you can ask each other questions.
An issue with Why is the answers are a bit vague, and again How also suffers in this way. For example, the question "How Many Countries Are There?" gives the answer "Just Under 200". What I think the book is particularly useful for is to get a child thinking. You could get them looking up the number of Google once you have read a question, for example "How Many Planets Are There?" gives the answer 8 (poor Pluto is long forgotten...) and you could set a child a task of learning them in order from the Sun. In this way the book is a starter for learning rather than the thing being learnt.
Again, there's a quick test in the back plus a glossary of tricky words (eg natron - salt found at the bottom of dried up lakes)
A great book to stimulate young minds.
Our youngest eight took this out with him and (yes it is an easy read a little too easy reading for an eight year old, I know it says aged five and up on the description. Did think that some of the answers for somethings were a little to hard for five year olds to understand though. You would certainly have to read it with them and explain I think for them to get the full benefit of it. Good drawings and pictures throughout the book, so lots of things to loo at too.
You just hope you have the same answer as the book, or else you will end up feeling a little silly.
On the whole though a good book, "why it is coloured 'green?"' I am not sure and that was one of the questions we were aksed by our youngest, so that could be question 51.
One of those books that even as an adult you think "How does that do that?" but you are too embarassd to ask, well take a peep into this for those niggling questions.
Problem is, your children will love reading this book themselves so any hope of trying to maintain that air of adult superiority is gone. Our 6 year old and her 7 year old friends all loved this book, helped by the cartoon illustrations and inviting graphics.'How do we know about ancient people?' was another classic,especially when she started asking family members how ancient they were.
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Those of us of a certain age will remember an ITV show called How,full of interesting facts and although this book...Read more