Tuesday 12 October 2010

Children's book review : How To Do Everything - Dorling Kindersley

When kids are about 4 or 5, they all go through the incredibly intense "Why ? Why ? Why ?" period that tests not only your brain cells but also your patience to the limit. I always used to pride myself on giving a proper answer instead of just saying "Because it is !" but sometimes, I have to admit, it was tough going !

When kids get a bit older, they stop asking why all the time - probably because they've realised that if you can no longer work out how to help them with their maths homework any more then you probably haven't got all the answers anyway ! - but they are still on their quest to know absolutely everything about everything. Sophie is totally enthralled by TV programmes, websites or books that are full of fascinating facts that she - and, I think to her, even more importantly that I - didn't know.

As soon as I read the title How To Do Everything, I knew we would be on to a winner with this book. I was expecting lots of scientific experiments that you could do at home and they're certainly there but there is so much more. The topics are extremely varied, ranging from magic tricks and balloon animals to escaping from handcuffs and dancing the macarena - and that's just in the first few pages !

Even as a parent, there are some ideas that I now long to use. In the food section (which includes several simple recipes for the kids to try out, including Spanish omelette, chocolate cake, bread, pancakes and tomato sauce), there's a simple but impressive idea of making a decorated ice bowl with flowers frozen into it. That's definitely an idea I'll be trying out at a dinner party some time to wow the guests !

I love the way the book explains old classics like origami, paper water bombs and tie-dye T-shirts - all of which I remember having fun with as a child - as well as introducing modern inventions and technology, like computer animation and pinatas.

This is an absolutely fabulous boredom-busting book for the school holidays or a wet weekend that parents and kids will enjoy exploring together. Most of the activities that you can try out yourself use things that you will have kicking around the house and the book also uses fact boxes to explain the importance of what you are discovering in the real world.

Instead of being called How To Do Everything, it could have been called How To Keep Your Kids Entertained For Months Without Spending A Penny ! Although targetted at readers aged 12+, 9-year-old Sophie found it absolutely fascinating and has managed to try out many of the activities, sometimes by herself and sometimes with a little help from me (which has been great fun too !).

star rating : 5/5

RRP : £14.99

Format: Hardback

ISBN: 9781405357906
Size: 216 x 276mm
Pages : 192
Publication date: 01 Oct 2010
Publisher: Dorling Kindersley

Other reviews you may be interested in :

Children's book review : Danger - Dorling Kindersley
Children's book review : Haunted - Dorling Kindersley
Children's book review : Know It All - Dorling Kindersley
 Children's book review : The Big Ideas That Changed The World - Dorling Kindersley

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