Just saying the letters DK in a discussion about books instantly brings to mind quality nonfiction books like no others. Those two letters command respect, and with a library of what I imagine numbers in the thousands, it’s possible to find a book on any given topic. Specifically for my family, DK children’s books are go-to resources, and my oldest son has a rotating collection from our public library on his shelf at home at all times. It’s daunting to even begin to review their titles, because there’s so much packed into these books! Among their fall releases, these three titles stand out to me for their immense volume of information, as well as the fun that can be had simply from browsing through their pages.
The writers and editors of Open Me Up: Everything You Need to Know About the Human Body are not exaggerating with that subtitle. This book provides the basics on the physical make-up of the body, from the major organs to the senses to the various systems that keep our bodies alive and well. But it also goes well beyond that to give real world context to how people have lived through time and around the world. Why not include a layout about different environments that humans live in when discussing basic needs for survival? There’s an appeal to the wide variety of layouts- photographs, realistic illustrations, and cartoonish images all appear, with some pages even resembling what we’re more familiar with seeing on our computer screens. I’m personally impressed with the mass of information between these covers, and the intelligent ways that it is shared. The section titled “Life Story” is comprehensive and factual about reproduction, puberty, and the differences between male and female physiology, but never in an embarrassing manner, which is a delicate balance to strike in a book geared at nine to twelve year olds!
For a book jam-packed with did-you-know-that? kinds of facts and can-you-figure-that-out? types of puzzles and games, look no further than How to Be a Genius: Your Brain and How to Train It. This is most definitely not your ordinary puzzle book, but a complete guide to your brain’s basic functions accompanied by a slew of engaging corresponding games and puzzles. My personal favorite is in the section on the senses. When explaining the intricacies of eyes and our sense of vision, the pages are full of optical illusions- ones that I remember seeing in my own childhood as well as ones that were new to me. I appreciate that in addition to simply presenting the illusions for our entertainment, the writers also provide the explanations as to why the lines appear different sizes, the dots change colors before our eyes, or straight lines suddenly look wavy. When a book can amuse and inform a 30-something mom and her 9-year-old son, it’s worthy of sharing.
I’m not even sure where to begin talking about Pick Me Up. It’s easy to say that this is like no other book I know, but it’s more challenging to truly describe its content- ‘a little bit of everything’ comes to mind. Covering topics as varied as The Natural World and Arts, Entertainment, and Media, it’s impossible to summarize the types of information readers will glean from these pages. I think what’s more remarkable than the actual content of this book is the format in which it’s presented. I think it would be overwhelming to try to read this book cover to cover. One could always look for specific topics using the index or color-coded table of contents, but there’s another unique way to take in the info. Just as we have become accustomed to jumping from point to point in our surfing of the Internet’s offerings, this book encourages readers to follow their interests in reading by supplying “links” for topics within the content– whenever a topic is underlined with a number beside it, this tells the reader on which page he can find more information on this very idea. With color-coded bars at the top left corner of each two-page spread, it’s easy to see which general topic each specific page is addressing. This is the quintessential browsing book- with surprising and fun content at every turn.
Like always, DK has provided a new crop of unique titles guaranteed to find fans among children everywhere. Check out any of these three titles to experience the informative fun for yourself or to share with your own big kid.
Reading is a lifelong habit for Dawn, one of the more positive ones that she has. Blogging is another of her “addictions,” and the fruit of her efforts can be seen at my thoughts exactly.